Ready to Celebrate International Literacy Day?

It’s easy to take our literacy skills for granted, but being able to read, write and speak a language is for some people a privilege. At least 750 million individuals around the world are unable to read and write. 250 million children are lacking basic literacy skills.[1] This is a big problem, as humans generally need literacy and reading skills to succeed in education and beyond.

Get Ready Literacy Day


What is International Literacy Day?


UNESCO created International Literacy Day in 1967 to bring attention to this issue and it has been celebrated annually on 8th September ever since. The main event held in Paris includes an awards ceremony where UNESCO recognizes and rewards individuals and organizations who strive to improve literacy around the world.

International Literacy Day serves as a reminder of how important literacy is for individuals and society. It’s also a date to reflect on issues that arise with global illiteracy and the work being done towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


This year’s theme


The theme for International Literacy Day 2019 is ‘Literacy and Multilingualism’. Multilingualism is where a person or group of people can use more than one language when communicating.

Multilingualism’s role in the world today will be discussed – both the benefits and implications. Without multilingualism, we wouldn’t be able to communicate on a global scale or understand different cultures.

Where multilingualism can provide learning advantages for children primarily in western societies, this isn’t always the case in developing countries. Children educated in a new language can take longer to develop their mother tongue. They also may display lower levels of basic learning skills and drop out of school early.

How to get involved:

  • Learn, discuss and share– research issues with illiteracy around the world, and what is being done about it. Build on the conversation and discuss with others who may be unaware.
  • Donate– books, time or money are all useful. Deliver any unused books to spaces that could benefit from them, such as schools or laundromats. Alternatively, you could be a Storytime volunteer at a local library or donate to relevant charities.
  • Follow– see the World Literacy campaign on social media and don’t hesitate to share their posts to help spread the word. Alternatively, visit to learn more.

Written by: Stephanie Butler.

Source: [1]UNESCO

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