International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day is tomorrow. Or Saturday really, but the International Reading Association is celebrating on Friday. If you’re at school tomorrow you might want to do a quick bit of promotion!

International Literacy Day is an effort by the United Nations to promote literacy internationally. Nine and a half years ago the UN proclaimed the next decade as United Nations Literacy Decade to recognize the need for literacy efforts to improve internationally. This year the theme is Literacy and Peace.

The IRA has a Literacy Fact sheet with some startling statistics about national and international literacy rates and their correlation to other social issues. Ones that struck me the most were:

  • Teaching mothers [globally] to read can lead to a decrease in infant mortality of up to 50%.
  • Health care costs for individuals with low level literacy skills are four times higher than those with high level skills.
  • Among low-income [US] 8th graders, just 15% read at a proficient level.

Consider directing staff to the International Children’s Digital Library for some international digital books. These can be projected or used in a computer center.

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