As writers, the very ability to read is something we take for granted. But the truth of the matter is that 32 million adults in the United States have low literacy skills. That means one in seven Americans would have a difficult time finishing even a page of a book. To us, people who spend our days writing and reading, it seems unfathomable that illiteracy is still a problem in the United States. But it is.
When parents don’t read to their kids, it can lower their average reading score by 74%. (source)
Only 31 percent of college graduates have high level literacy skills. (source)
Only 24% of 17 year olds ever read for fun. (source)
March is National Literacy Month and libraries, bookstores, and schools across the United States are celebrating by holding readings, offering free literacy classes, and distributing books.
Lulu helps support literacy efforts through its Lulu for Literacy program, which “promotes global literacy in a manner reflecting Lulu’s innovation, dedication to excellence and sense of accountability.” Lulu staff members volunteer their time to promote literacy efforts.
Here are some ways you can help spread literacy across the nation:
1. Donate books to a library. In low-income communities, the ratio of books to children is one book to every 300 children. All those children’s books you have lying around could be put to good use! Even a single book could make a world of difference.
2. Got the new iPad? Sick of your Kindle? Donate you eReader to your library! eReaders help promote literacy by making reading interactive. Especially for readers who are just beginning, allowing there to be some fun in the process makes it all the easier.
3. Donate to a literacy program that you support. Organizations that do work in the field include: The National Institute for Literacy, the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy, BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools), the National Center for Family Literacy, the International Reading Association and the Council for the Advancement of Adult Literacy.
4. Become a reading tutor. You can help a student or a group of students become better readers (and improve their quality of life) by donating only a few hours each week. To find a literacy volunteer program in your area, you can search The Literacy Directory.
Literacy helps people lead better, more productive lives. This Literacy Month, take a little time off from reading and writing to help spread literacy in your community.