Read to Lead Hosts Day of Nationwide Literacy Events
Nearly 760 million adults internationally have only basic or below basic literacy skills in their native languages, according to proliteracy.org. That's 16 percent of the global population. In the United States alone, 63 million people over age 16 cannot read a story written at an eighth-grade level, representing 29 percent of the U.S. population. According to ReadtoLeadToday.org, one child in four grows up without learning how to read. Discouraging numbers like these are the reason September has been named National Literacy Month. The month is dedicated to the spread of literacy and the awareness of illiteracy across the country.
One such effort is the formation of Read to Lead, an awareness campaign started by business leaders to "promote reading as an indispensable component in creating, developing and inspiring our leaders of tomorrow," according to the campaign's mission statement. As part of National Literacy Month, Read to Lead is presenting "Let's Read Day" on Sept. 10. The day consists of a series of reading events in markets all across the country, which will aim to show the fun of reading and encourage children to read throughout their lives.
Some of the day's events include:
- "Passport to Reading" in Tomball, Texas, which will feature activities based on five legendary Texas heros.
- Cat in the Hat character appearance, readings and activities in Austin, Texas.
- Signing in Ocala, Fla., with "Alligator Dreams" author Mark Dahmon.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar character appearance, readings and activities in Greeley, Colo.
- Berenstain Bears readings in Litchfield Park, Ariz., with a character meet-and-greet and a free Berenstain children's book for attendees.
Events also will be hosted in California, Oregon and Washington.
"I commend the 'Read and Lead' campaign for raising awareness of the vital importance of early literacy," said U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa in a Read to Lead press release. "As our nation's children start the new school year, I urge educators, parents, and the general public to make reading fun, exciting, and engaging for our youngest readers. I have always believed that early reading plus writing equals success in school and in life."
Trey Holder, founder of the Read to Lead campaign and CEO of Mercury Retail Services, stated, "Thank you to all the business leaders, who have pooled their resources to commit to fighting the falling literacy rates in our country. We encourage and challenge other business leaders to join the Read to Lead campaign and look forward to many more reading events in the future."
Many other organizations are holding events and activities in recognition of Literacy Month as well. On Sept. 24 and 25, the Library of Congress will sponsor its annual National Book Festival in celebration of the joy of reading.
To learn more about literacy awareness and what you can do to help, click here.