World Read Aloud Day 2013 – what are you reading?

6 03 2013

Did you know that 774 million* people in our world, cannot read…  And 66% of the world’s illiterate are female?  

Our entire civilization is at stake when girls are prevented from accessing the right to read and write.  All girls must be able to read and write their names, read their medicine bottles, vote, go to school and college, and have the freedom to work,

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%.

Reading workshopImagine a world where everyone can read…

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

“Together we can change the world, story by story.”
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The Road to Literacy: Strategies for Parents and the Pre Reader

20 09 2011

Sandra Arthur warmly welcomes this viewpoint from teacher, Angela Jackson (originally featured at www.SandraArthurBooks.com)

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray,

Go throw your TV set away,

And in its place you can install

A lovely bookshelf on the wall.”


“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by
Roald Dahl

Learning to read is the most important skill any child will acquire during primary education; if a child can’t read, he can’t do anything. He can’t read text books; he can’t read the instructions in a maths exercise: he can’t read a book for pleasure. His or her progress is compromised from the very beginning of his school life. As parents there are many, many strategies we can adopt in our daily lives that will ease the transformation from a non reader to a competent reader. Think caterpillars and butterflies!

1. The first tip is a no-brainer really. Talk to the baby; talk to the small child. I used to feel an idiot chattering away to my baby as we tackled the weekly shop but naming objects helps the baby and later the small child to acquire a large and rich vocabulary. Being familiar with lots of words on starting school, will give the child a great advantage.

2. From the age of 6 months, look at books with the baby. Point out objects; talk about what’s happening in the pictures. Babies enjoy bright colours and simple drawings and the warm, cosy parent-child moment will create the right associations in the child’s mind.

3. Think about singing songs and rhymes to increase a child’s vocabulary. Remember that children need to hear language from people. To a baby, television is just noise.

4. Point out written signs. Stress the importance of the written word

5. Another no brainer: show your child that you value reading, that books are important to you. Have books and magazines around the house. Let your child see you reading books, newspapers and magazines.

6. Treat books respectfully, reverently. Don’t allow the child to draw on reading books. Teach him to turn the pages carefully. Encourage him/her to keep the books and, later, drawing materials in a special place.

7. If there’s a library near you then it’s a good idea to join it. Many libraries and some book shops hold regular story hours and staff are often trained to advise readers on ways to use books creatively.

8. Find time to read a bedtime story every night. Apart from encouraging a love of books, it also sets the scene for a calm bedtime.

While committed, conscientious parents do all this on a regular basis, it’s also worth mentioning not to push too hard and to enjoy the voyage of discovery.