I’m sure by now you’re aware that I love to read almost as much as I love to write and edit. In fact, probably more. So I was thrilled to find out that today is International Literacy Day.
“Fifty-one years ago, UNESCO officially proclaimed 8 September International Literacy Day to actively mobilize the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies.”
I can’t be more in tune with this sentiment.
According to Wikipedia: “Some 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults are still not literate and two-thirds of them are women;”
I’m astonished by these figures! I am surrounded on a daily basis by writers who are avid readers. I’ll admit that I only know a few people today who cannot read or choose not to. I’m also dumbfounded by people who don’t like to read (who doesn’t like to read??), but I recognize that reading is not a skill or hobby that everyone enjoys. (By the way, as a side note, I have a friend who says she only reads the Bible. Although the Bible is a GREAT book and worthy of being read time and time again, it’s limiting to read that work ONLY. I believe God has endowed certain people with the gift of writing so, therefore, He would want us to read more than just His words.)
However, today is a day to celebrate literacy and to share it with those who have not had access to it or have not had to educational opportunities to learn how to enjoy it.
Ever since our first god daughter was born, we’ve bought her books. And when she was young, we’d visit her and my husband would always have to (by her request) read at least two books to her before we left.
Now that she’s older, we can barely get her nose out of her books! And I love it!! She reminds me of myself – I read everything I could get my hands on when I was young. I even liked to read my dad’s Encyclopedia Britannica collection!
Sharing books with the young children in your life is a great way to celebrate this day. But, more importantly, begin to share books with all children, every day of the year.
Do you know a family of lower income that can’t afford to buy books? Introduce them to the local library and help them obtain their library card.
Do you know an adult who can’t read? Offer to teach them and do so without judgment.
Do you know a college student struggling with their work? Maybe they have a learning disability. Perhaps it’s not easy for them to read. Maybe they were never taught how to study a book properly. Offer help or become a tutor.
Literacy is a skill that every person needs. Even with the onset of emoticons and symbols for language, there still needs to be a basic understanding of what those symbols represent. Reading is essential to daily living whether you like to read books or not. A job application requires reading. A desk job requires reading. Even factory work requires reading – you need to know how to stop the machine!
Today, think of ways you could spread literacy in your community. Maybe just go spend time at the library or give away some books. (We all have too many, let’s face it.)
Happy Friday and happy reading!