International Literacy Day – for readers of all abilities

Thursday, September 8, 2011, is United Nations International Literacy Day (ILD), which underlines the significance of literacy for healthy societies. The International Literacy Association says, “More than 780 million of the world’s adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education.”

Even in the United States, with ready access to education, people with dyslexia and other language-processing disorders struggle to read and write. Reading problems, including dyslexia, affect some 10 million children nationwide. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress, almost 40% of 4th-grade students in the United States read below grade level.

But in 2007 the National Center for Education Statistics reported that “public school children identified as having a primary specific learning disability ranged from .5% in kindergarten to 6.5 % in 5th grade.” This means that only a very small percentage of struggling readers get individualized help through their school.

Finding the right tools and the right therapy is key to meeting those challenges. International Literacy Day focuses a spotlight on the importance of literacy for individuals and societies worldwide.

There are a variety of ways to observe International Literacy Day, from organizing themed readings in local schools and libraries to supporting national and international literacy programs. How will you celebrate?

  • Encourage your child’s school to observe ILD with special reading programs.
  • Visit your local library.
  • Read aloud with your children.
  • Use language and images to create your own books.
  • Become a literacy coach.
  • Start a family blog to encourage vocabulary and writing skills.
  • Play a word game.
  • Explore language/literacy-development tools, such as Lexercise.
  • Seek help for language-processing disorders.

I welcome your comments and questions below! 

2 Responses to International Literacy Day – for readers of all abilities

  • kildonan School commented

    Thank-you for sharing this information on International Literacy Day and these world literacy statistics. You are right that many students with dyslexia face difficulties reading, but these can often be overcome with the application of appropiate measures and techniques, such as Ortong Gillingham reading instruction

  • Kildonan School ~ Thanks for the great work you do, as well!

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Sandie Barrie Blackley, MA/CCC

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Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.