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.