Celebrating International Literacy Day
If bookstores had a favorite holiday, it would be today, and that’s because today is International Literacy Day.
Instead of blogging about a bookstore or coffee shop today, (and by “instead of” I mean: Because the three day weekend totally threw me off and I didn’t make it to a second bookstore this week) I’m going to share some facts and figures about literacy around the world from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
- This year’s International Literacy Day theme is Peace (As noted on the poster above.)
- In 2008, about 796 million adults were unable to read and write, which means that about one in six adults is still not literate.
- Of those 796 million, 64% were women.
- “The adult literacy rate increased by about 8 percentage points globally over the past 20 years – an increase of 6% for men and 10% for women.”
- In 2008, for the majority of countries surveyed, youth (ages 15-24) literacy rates were greater than adult literacy rates.
- Still, “131 million youth worldwide lacked basic reading and writing skills,” that same year.
Whether it be in a book, on the Internet, or just a text message from a friend, most of us read everyday. Along with the ability to write, it’s something that most of us had the privilege of learning at a very young age and is a skill that is easily taken for granted. It’s easy to forget that not everyone should be so fortunate. Let today not only be a reminder for us to be thankful for our own reading and writing abilities, but also a means of spreading awareness about world literacy rates with the intention of continuing to increase the amount of people who have the ability to read and write globally.
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”- Frederick Douglas
[All statistics and figures found in UNESCO’s Literacy Fact Sheet]