Did you know that 774 million* people in our world, cannot read… And 66% of the world’s illiterate are female?
Based on World Bank research and economic data and UNESCO education statistics, it estimates the economic cost to 65 low and middle income and transitional countries of failing to educate girls to the same standard as boys as a staggering US$92 billion each year. Let’s repeat that fact; the failure to offer girls the same educational opportunities as boys costs developing countries almost $100 billion each year in lost economic growth.
*These facts are confirmed by my source: U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy – Date Verified: 2.20.2012.
Reading educates and empowers people – both women and men. Family poverty hits girls hardest as they are pushed to find work to support their family. Girls drop out of school more – with a 29% decrease in primary school completion for girls versus 22% for boys. With no ability to read, people cannot learn and this disability typically results in a life of poverty, disadvantage or crime. This trend is confirmed by reviewing, for example, the percent of prison inmates, in the USA who can’t read is 63%.
If this was true, how could reading improve the lives of street children, children in conflict with the law and children in the worst forms of child labour? Many children have multiple problems and belong to more than one category or move between categories over time. Many of the root causes and factors that impact on the lives of these children are similar – namely poverty and this drives lack of education and opportunities many take for granted.
With those sobering thoughts in mind I call everyone to celebrate by arranging to read aloud, give away a book, or taking action in any way you can.
As a children’s book writer, I ask that you celebrate World Read Aloud Day on 6 March 2013.
World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.
By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.
As a young girl, I can never remember my father without at least a book or newspaper – often both – in his hands. He would read to us, tell us stories and sing songs each night as he put us to bed with my mother. He encouraged my brother and I to visit the library each week, and we were given a free reign to choose any book to take home to read. He allowed us to select our favourite comics at the newsagent, and set up a regular home delivery each week, so that we did not miss out on our favourite stories or pop-world gossip. This style of reading was fun – it was different from the forced reading we had to do at school, and yes, this approach assisted me to love reading.
That’s why I was so keen that I would follow my father’s example and ensure my kids took up his love – to read books. As soon as they could hold anything, I thrust black and white board books into their hands. I followed this up with the full range of wonderful look and feel books that exist, and ensured that they were read to each night. Now to my delight, they love books as much as my husband and I and of course, their late Grandad.
March 6th would have been my father’s 76th birthday. I think he would love to know that his birth date has been chosen as World Read Aloud Day.
A love of reading is one of the greatest gifts you can give to any child – take a moment to determine how you can pass on this wonderful gift to children in your life.
Take action for the Global Literacy Movement!
Please link to the site below if you are interested in launching a LitClub in your community: for Girls or Boys, or for Mothers.
If you would like to register for World Read Aloud Day, coming up on March 6, 2013, click here.
- See more at: http://litworld.org/actnow/#sthash.f6PXMZbF.dpuf