International Day of Literacy! Literacy begins at home.

Did you know? Today is International Day of Literacy!
From UNESCO: Since 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations have taken place annually around the world to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society. 

Despite steady progress made across the world, literacy challenges persist with at least 763 million young people and adults lacking basic literacy skills in 2020. The recent COVID-19 crisis and other crisis, such as climate change and conflicts, have been exacerbating the challenges.

As an educator, I see the literacy challenges daily as middle school and high school students are passed on year after year with barely functional literacy skills. With effective instruction, students can gain about two grade levels of progress in a single school year. That's often not enough. I had 8th graders reading on 2nd grade levels. 

Some things that can help—every child needs and deserves a home library. Reading needs to START at home and then is improved upon in school. A literature rich home is a good first step. 

Next, kids/young people are SOCIAL BEINGS, so make reading social. Make trips to the library or bookstore fun. Create ambience and VIBES in the home around reading—set up nooks, turn down the lights, give everyone their favorite beverage, and read together as a family. Expose them to books that represent their identities, experiences, and interests!

Lastly, kids/young people imitate what they see. It's less likely for a child who has never even seen their family reading to fall in love with it. I think about this often as a child of immigrants who weren't literate in English, but they read the Quran (our holy text) daily. And Islamic tradition is rooted in seeking knowledge. So I guess that made a difference.

Reading connects us. Let's make our kiddos are reading too.
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