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Celebrate International Literacy Day

September 8 is International Literacy Day. Why do we need International Literacy Day? Can’t most everybody read?

According to UNESCO, 781 million adults and 126 million children worldwide cannot read. More than 60% of the world’s illiterate population are women.

UNESCO views literacy as a fundamental human right. As a Rotarian, I donate $2 from every book sold at Rotary events to Rotary Literacy initiatives like Rotary Reader, a program that promotes reading in public schools. On Tuesday, my home club is collecting children’s books to donate to school libraries. Another area club gave Rotary bookmarks to schools.

When I was growing up, I never watched a cartoon without seeing commercials for “Reading Is Fundamental.” I read to travel, to experience alternate worlds, to meet people I’d never meet in real life, to explore ideas and opinions that differed from mine. I cannot imagine what my childhood would’ve been like without books, and I despair when I hear someone say, “I don’t have time to read,” or, “Reading is a waste of time.” Not because I’m a writer, but because I never would’ve walked the Natchez Trace if I didn’t first read a book: Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose.

One book launched me on a life-altering adventure, but it’s one of many. I’ve traveled to specific places to see something I imagined through a book. I’ve gone out of my way to experience all manner of performance. I’ve met specific people because a story inspired me to try.

What adventures are we missing today because we don’t make time to read? How could we take books and change the lives of people who can’t read?

Celebrate International Literacy Day by giving a book to a child in your life or by donating a book to a school library in your area. You can learn more about International Literacy Day by following the links here:

International Literacy Day UNESCO

UNESCO Literacy Infographic

UNESCO Adult and Youth Literacy Statistics

17 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on Kira Moore's Closet and commented:
    Reading is Fundamental!

    September 8, 2014
  2. I remember those Reading Is Fundamental ads. And I haven’t seen any ads geared toward reading lately, unfortunately.
    Thanks for bringing this up. When I was involved in teaching adults to read, there were definitely more women than men. Very sad.

    September 8, 2014
  3. Well done, Andra, and an issue, literacy, close to my heart. Books are the wallpaper of my life. Really. I have so many they cover rooms. 🙂 I’ve gone from an immigrant grandmother, who couldn’t read or write but taught me to love books by sitting on her lap as she “read” to me, the book upside down, the words from her own imagination, to two grandkids who have admirable libraries of their own, already.

    Here’s to Rotary clubs and to UNICEF – and to fostering literacy.

    September 8, 2014
  4. Thank you for doing what you are to help others. Reading provokes curiosity, which is superior to intelligence as a predictor of success.

    September 8, 2014
  5. People gave me books when I was a child and I cannot remember a time when I didn’t have a library card. As a shy and very introverted kid, books (and magazines like Life, Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic, Good Housekeeping) were my best friends and windows to a much wider world. I cannot imagine my life without books, and there are two books in the gift box currently awaiting shipment for my great-granddaughter’s birthday later this month.

    I applaud you and anyone, Rotarian or not, who will advocate for literacy. I would also go one step beyond Cheryl to say that not only does reading provoke curiosity, but it also promotes thinking for oneself! I suspect those who cannot read are among those most susceptible to “following the crowd.”

    September 8, 2014
  6. Those numbers are sad. And you are so right, reading is fundamental to everything we do. And fun!

    September 8, 2014
  7. There is site that one can click on for free, and they give books to children. The Literacy Site.

    September 8, 2014
  8. what a wonderful and powerful gesture –

    September 8, 2014
  9. I cannot imagine how shallow + dull my life would be if I couldn’t read. Literacy is everything to me. Today is a good reminder of that fact and that more needs to be done to increase literacy everywhere. Great post.

    September 8, 2014
  10. Great post, Audra! I don’t know how I could live life without reading, and grieve for those who must somehow live without it.

    September 8, 2014
  11. Yikes! Typo! I meant Andra, not Audra! To carried away with my love of reading!

    September 8, 2014
  12. I love books…always have and always will. My imagination loves them too! 🙂

    September 9, 2014
  13. Here’s a cause I can surely get behind! I love to share books with anyone, and most of all children! 🙂

    September 11, 2014
  14. Reblogged this on johncoyote and commented:
    Reading and writing is a needed skill for all children and adults to succeed.

    September 13, 2014
  15. narhvalur #

    Reblogged this on Ann Novek–With the Sky as the Ceiling and the Heart Outdoors.

    September 14, 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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