September 07, 2015
International Literacy Day 2015
Literacy is a basic human right, a fundamental building block within education and a tool for personal empowerment. So why are there still children across the world who cannot read and write?
Tuesday 8th September 2015 marks International Literacy Day – a day set up by the charity UNESCO over 40 years ago. It aims to emphasise the importance of literacy, and encourage communities around the globe to act as a united voice in raising awareness for those without access to education.
The International Literacy Day website features some saddening statistics regarding illiteracy. According to the website, 126 million youths (young people aged between 15 and 24) are illiterate. But why is this important?
The impact of illiteracy can range from limited employment opportunities, to a low general income, to higher chances of poor health, to propensity towards crime. But the importance of literacy doesn’t just lie in a country’s GDP or employability rates. Being able to read and write opens up a child’s imagination, allows them to engage in complex thinking through a book, or preserve their stories through the written word.
But International Literacy Day isn’t just beneficial for children in the Developing World. Comedian David Walliams has recently announced his plans to help make Britain’s children more literate, as he pledges to help create at least 200 new book clubs in primary schools across the country and enrol as many 8 year olds as possible to their local libraries.
The benefits of reading go far beyond literacy: an emerging body of research highlights the power of stories to help children handle their own and other people’s feelings. Walliams said: “Books fire children’s imaginations like nothing else can. In a world of the constant distractions of television and computer games, it is more important than ever to encourage youngsters to read.”
There are numerous ways in which we can celebrate International Literacy Day, from raising and donating money to the cause, to simply raising awareness! If anything, we should utilise this day as an opportunity to engage our children or students with a book or author. Or maybe push their creative boundaries and ask them to write a short story about what reading and writing means to them!
This international event helps children, young people and adults all across the world, and is a sustainable and beneficial charity for future generations to come.
Love Victoria, and the One Day Team x