Promote Literacy and Open Up a Whole World of Possibilities

I am a World Read Aloud Day Ambassador, which means that I will be doing my part to promote literacy on March 7th. I know that’s still a few weeks away, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about the importance of this awesome cause and get everyone geared up for the big day.

Did you know that, worldwide, an estimated 793 million people do not know how to read? That’s 793 million people who have never experienced the joys of escaping to Wonderland or Oz, who never felt that bitter-sweet feeling of closing the last page of an exhilarating series about a young wizard and his battle against evil forces. 793 million people who have no idea what it’s like to devour a story until 3am in the morning because you just can’t put it down. 793 million people who cannot get new ideas from a how-to book, experience different opinions through philosophy, or even discover what is going on in the world around them threw newspapers and internet sites.

I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not be able to read. I’m not even talking about reading voraciously, like I already do. I’m talking about seeing words on a page as nothing more than a jumble of letters, a completely foreign language even though it’s in your native tongue. The mere thought is enough to give me anxiety attacks. Reading has always been such a natural, integral part of my existence.

World Read Aloud Day is an event celebrated by LitWorld, an international organization that has one goal- to promote literacy. While promoting literacy is something that should be done every day, people (including me) sometimes need a push to really get the message out, and having a special day set aside to encourage reading is definitely a great way to do it.

Help Promote Literacy

  • Make a pledge to read with your children at least once a day. Jacob and I read to each other at bed time, but if your schedule prevents nighttime reading, pick another time of the day. Read over breakfast, right after school, or after dinner while enjoying dessert. Even if you’re just reading the back of the cereal box, find a way to squeeze in a little reading every day.
  • Volunteer to read to your child’s class. Teachers often invite parents in for a reading session, and this is a great way to get to know your child’s school a little better.
  • Encourage imaginative thinking, which in turn encourages children to reach out beyond the boundaries of their own reality and embrace that of someone else’s world. I was a highly imaginative child, and it helped fuel my appetite for books.
  • Make library trips part of your bi-weekly or monthly routine, or organize a book swap with your child’s friends. Both are great ways to bring new books into your home without breaking your budget or your bookshelves.
  • Register for World Read Aloud Day and help them make it to one-million participants this year.
  • Make a donation to LitWorld and help bring books to children who otherwise wouldn’t have them. Even as little as $1 can help.