International Literacy Day – 8 September 2019

Since 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations have taken place annually around the world to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society.

International Literacy Day 2019 will focus on ‘Literacy and Multilingualism’. Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist, distributed unevenly across countries and populations. Embracing linguistic diversity in education and literacy development is central to addressing these literacy challenges and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Literacy is a driver for sustainable development in that it enables greater participation in the labour market; improved child and family health and nutrition; reduces poverty and expands life opportunities so what can we do?

Start a book club: A book club is a great way to get others in your town excited about reading. Invite a circle of friends to your home, pick a new book each month, and get together each week to discuss it. Advertise the book club in your local library and, who knows, you may gain members for your Soroptimist Club!

Volunteer at your local public library: Libraries are an important learning hub in many communities and are intricate means to help foster a love of learning for many children. Volunteer at your library. Ask about after school reading programmes, summer reading series or weekend storytelling programmes.

Organise a read-a-thon in your community: Spark community interest in literacy by hosting a reading marathon. Encourage children and adults to read as many books as possible in a given time frame. Ask local businesses to sponsor prizes and incentives for readers.

Give a book as a gift: What better way of honouring World Literacy Day than giving the gift of the written word? In your gift include a note about why you believe literacy is so important. Perhaps share with a family member or friend a book that way especially meaningful to you as a child.

Share your favourite verse on social media: Share with family, friends, colleagues, children your love of a treasured story, book, passage, or speech on your social media channels. Inspire others with how inspired you are of the written word. Remember to use #LiteracyDay

Use your literacy skills to fight injustices: We all know how closely tied literacy rates are to poverty and social unrest. Utilise your love of the written word for change to fuel your focus for social change by writing letters on behalf of Amnesty International. Your words can help fight injustice around the world for those have been wrongfully imprisoned because of who they are or what they believe.

Tutor a refugee or immigrant in your community: Why not enquire about opportunities in your area to volunteer to help individuals and families adjust and assimilate to their new communities by way of better English language and literacy skills?

Educate people on illiteracy facts: People who cannot read are more likely to drop out of school, have poorer health, and will face more limited job growth throughout their lives. Share facts on social media on how literacy can help liberate others from poverty.

For more information visit the UN and UNESCO websites.

Yvonne Gibbon
APD Education