Author Archives: Trish O'Hare

Hotlanta reads!

lol-header Summer is over, phooey! Now, how did we keep those kiddos reading?

Some communities addressed that challenge in super ways. Take Atlanta. This forward-thinking city launched a program designed to address “summer slide” on the day before last class. “School’s Out! Reading is In!” launched on May 22 for kindergarten to 12th grade across more than 100 schools. 50,000 students received 4 books, appropriate to their grade-level, to be read over the summer. An accompanying letter asked parents to spend time reading with their children. 

This is the scary part. “Research shows that children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three or four times more likely to drop out in later years,” said Dr. Alisha Hill, Atlanta Public Schools’ 6-12th grade literacy coordinator. “A national adult literacy survey indicates that 44 million adults in the United States cannot read well enough to read a simple story to a child.” Read up here

Family involvement is key in encouraging a life-long love of reading, and schools who partner with families know that learning takes no breaks. 

Go, Atlanta. Read to your children. And applaud as your children read to you.

A Human Right

lol-headerWelcome to our soapbox!

As publishers, it is in our best interest to see that people read. As human beings, it is imperative that people can read. Our books are dedicated to the emerging reader, and we think a lot about that person. In this little corner of ours, we’d like to explore areas of interest in pursuit of greater literacy for all who seek it. We will ask readers, teachers and authors to give us ideas, tips and stories. We’ll uncover efforts people are making in the field, and highlight success where we can find it.


“Literacy is a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning.” UNESCO further defines a literate person as someone “aged 15 years or over who can with understanding both read and write a short, simple statement about everyday life.” Sounds basic, right? But consider the power of words. The ability to read gives people ease in handling everyday tasks: navigating the supermarket, reading a subway schedule, finding pain relief at the pharmacy. Literacy offers men and women broader participation in their communities, from to voting to speaking up about the noise to driving someone home in an unfamiliar neighborhood.

Research, and common sense, suggest that being literate dramatically advances one’s economic opportunity by providing access to knowledge in the pursuit of goals. Literacy accelerates social justice and, as a consequence, promotes peace. Written communication is at the core of civilization, and the silence illiteracy engenders robs us of the voices of millions. Words we hear or read cause us to consider and reflect. The ability to read and to write gives us the chance to connect with other human beings, and we discover that our experiences are as like each other as they are different. When I can write, I can tell you what I feel. When I can read, I can understand what you intend. I can ask and answer the most basic of questions:  What will I wear today, now that it is cold? Where do you wait for your bus when it is raining? When do you go to work, and do you have a friend there? What do you think? Why?

Celebrate words yourself. Write something today. Read something today. Do it out loud.

About Gemma Open Doors

An innovative program of original works by some of our most beloved modern writers, originally designed in Ireland to promote adult literacy. These fresh stories showcase new writing from both best-selling authors and emerging voices.

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Gemma Open Door for Literacy, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. Gifts and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. EIN #81-1384020