Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Celebrate International Literacy Day

(Jack's Storytime, artist Gregory Jackson, sculpture at Siouxland Library Main, downtown Sioux Falls)

Being successful in life is difficult if you can't read. Never mind the enjoyment of curling up with a good novel or the sense of victory in conquering a new word. Think about being unable to read instructions, employment applications, forms, signs, food labels, and other everyday survival postings.

Literate people have more earning power, and literate countries are more advanced. They have better economic stability and better health. The United Nations declared September 8 as International Literacy Day to draw attention to the need for the ability to read.
This literacy infographic is from United Nations Human Development 2007-2008. A list of countries' literacy rates, according to the United Nations Development Programme 2009, is found here.

Yet even here in the United States, we find people unable to read or unable to read well enough to function well in society. Efforts abound to teach children and adults how to read through special school and after school programs and literacy programs sponsored by literacy councils and libraries.

How can you promote literacy?
-Read! Let yourself be seen reading at home and in public!
-Read aloud to others.
-Volunteer in a classroom, local library, or senior facility to read or assist with reading.
-Join your local literacy council and participate.
-Tutor someone learning to read.
-See ProLiteracy for more ways to promote literacy.

Victor Hugo wrote, "“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” What kind of reading sparks are flying around you today?

(Summer Distractions II by arist Lee Leuning, sculpture at Siouxland Library Main, downtown Sioux Falls)

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