September is National Literacy Month
and today, September 8, is International Literacy Day
As readers of romance novels and other genres, we contribute to the literacy of the world. But not everyone can read in their native languages.
“According to UNESCO, about 774 million adults lack the minimum literacy skills. One in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women. About 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. However, literacy is also a cause for celebration on the day because there are nearly four billion literate people in the world.” from https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/international-literacy-day
We tend to focus on reading to children as a means of improving literacy, and I would like to continue to support the efforts of those who do support children’s programs. My own children regularly volunteer for a local literacy program that helps at risk youth in lower grades get up to reading level.
But there are also adults out there in the United States (where I live) who cannot read. Somewhere somehow they slipped through the education cracks.
In the United States the literacy rate among adults showed no significant change between 2003 and 2013 with 14 percent of adults demonstrating a “below basic” reading level. 19 percent of all high school graduates in this country cannot read. We are looking at around 31 million Americans who cannot read. (from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/06/illiteracy-rate_n_3880355.html)
If you want to share your love of reading with others, please consider volunteering to help an Adult Literacy Program near you. The National Literacy Directory is an online resource to not only help learners find programs, but also to help volunteers find programs.
And as the child of a librarian, I cannot recommend checking in with your local library enough to find out what programs they have available.
Please consider donating to literacy near you. You can do this by donating time, money, books, or any combination of these.