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Championing Literacy For All

This is a guest post by Aubrey Ludwig, NMSI’s English director.
Last week marked the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day. This day celebrates the opportunities that come from being able to read and reminds us that improving literacy education does more than just teach people to decipher text on a page.
Reading is a necessity that helps us navigate our personal and professional lives. As such, we can easily forget how elemental the act of reading is to even the simplest daily tasks and chores, from grocery shopping to balancing your check book. It is important to remind ourselves that reading allows us to accomplish far more than just getting lost in a good book.

 According to UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics, there are approximately “758 million adults who cannot read or write a simple sentence, two thirds of them women.”  International Literacy Day is an opportunity to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals and communities to serve as literacy champions not just on that one day, but every day. Get started by: 
· Viewing the video from Forest Whitaker, UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, about how reading can have a tangible impact on an individual’s creativity and success.
· Celebrating the joys that reading offers with students. The National Council of Teachers of English offers a series of lessons to engage K-12 students for the 2016 celebration via the ReadWriteThink website.
· Supporting UNESCO’s literacy mission via social media with the hashtag #IDL16 and explain how reading has changed your own life.
· Getting involved either as an advocate or educator with international literacy initiatives by visiting the International Literacy Association’s website.

Whether you are an avid reader of graphic novels or sports writing, a reader of political biographies or sweeping literary epics, your ability to read is a foundational part of how you interpret the world around you. Help others celebrate reading’s impact and advocate for better literacy education for others.