Improving children’s literacy skills
in the United Kingdom
UK Reads focuses directly on the children impacted by illiteracy in the United Kingdom. This initiative provides children from disadvantaged backgrounds access to suitable, fun and engaging free books so that every child has the strongest chance to reach their full potential.
Almost 400,000 children do not own a single book and 1 in 5 children struggle to read and write. These numbers are continuously growing and children from low income families are the most at risk of illiteracy. We are here to support them.
Ten-year-old Esther’s big brown eyes light up as she talks about the Aprendo Leyendo program. “I enjoy coming every week because Miss Paulina teaches us to read and write!” she says enthusiastically.
In many ways, Esther is like most young girls. She loves wearing pink clothes and the fantasy of fairy tales and unicorns. But her life isn’t easy. She lives with 15 family members in a small bamboo and concrete house in the humble neighborhood of El Carmen in Manizales, Colombia. Three generations cram the two-level home, and the rooms are divided by curtains instead of walls.
Esther and her four siblings are raised by her single mother. Her 60-year-old mom, Melinda, works Monday to Saturday cleaning houses to provide the basics for her family. Despite all, her family is close and makes the best of things because they have no choice.
Esther is in third grade and goes to a public school. Although it’s funded by the government, resources are very limited, and the quality of education is extremely low. Though the school’s been closed for months now due to COVID-19.
Luckily, Esther’s been able to keep attending the Aprende Leyendo program every week since she was six with her younger brother, Angel Fabian. The program has been a vital resource to keep them learning during the school shutdowns. Program Manager, Paula Correa, helped set up the reading room at a local community hub in 2014 to give disadvantaged children access to books, mentoring and help improve their reading.
Like many other children facing poverty and hardship in Colombia, Esther had no books at home. Aprende Leyendo and the World Literacy Foundation donated food, clothes, and books to her family, so now Esther can read at home too. Esther wants to be a policewoman when she grows up to take care of people in her community. We think her dream will come true because the gift of literacy opens endless possibilities for children in need. Thanks to your support we can help disadvantaged children in Latin America by providing them with quality educational resources and support to change their futures and break their cycle of poverty.
WLF has grown to align with the needs of an evolving education sector. The World Literacy Foundation has worked towards forging partnerships with other leading educational and related not-for-profit organisations, and has built long-lasting relationships within communities around the world. Donate – United Kingdom World Literacy Foundation significantly dedicates its time and resources to conducting research, and uses resulting information to help advocate in local communities as well as on a global scale.
The World Literacy Foundation volunteers and partner communities have worked in Azerbaijan, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Colombia, Mozambique, Uganda, and other developing countries to provide access to quality education and learning resources to disadvantaged communities. With bases on five of the seven continents, the tailors each operation to the country’s specific literacy needs. In the African sect based in Uganda, where many people live in poverty and have no electricity the World Literacy Foundation has donated solar powered tablets. Paired with the Sun Books initiative the World Literacy Foundation is not just donating recourses but also training to teachers at the primary school level.
Where the foundation was started in Australia, the goal is geared towards closing the gap of literacy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. For indigenous people illiteracy rates are a more prominent problem. To improve skills such as reading and number skills, the World Literacy Foundation has developed a program called the Indigenous Learning App. This app contains multilingual e-books and multiple literacy games in not just English but also the local dialect in Australia.
In the African sect with headquarters in Uganda, where many people live in poverty and have no electricity the World Literacy Foundation has donated solar powered tablets. Paired with the Sun Books initiative the World Literacy Foundation is not just donating recourses but also training to teachers at the primary school level on how to use these resources effectively. The solar powered tablets come preloaded with digital learning content and multilingual e-books. In Uganda only roughly 27% of people have access to electricity and the cost of one book can be a whole month’s salary.
These sunbooks.org are useful in the sense that they do not need to be electrically charged and are universal tools, coming loaded with multiple uses. Several years ago, the World Literacy Foundation founded their South America sect in Manizales, Colombia. Latin America is in dire need of educational reform, over 35 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. Here it is only expected that children attend school for 6 years compared to the traditional 12 most other countries require. To help improve these statistics the World Literacy Foundation runs two classes a week for over 60 children and other community members. During beneficial classes the World Literacy Foundation supports learners of all ages with tutoring and reading services. In the United Kingdom illiteracy costs the UK’s economy roughly $50 billion USD a year.
It is here the World Literacy Foundation has run 26 fundraising projects, book distribution drives and provides numerous services. To help combat illiteracy the World literacy Foundation provides services such as parent mentoring, tutoring services, delivering literacy recourses, and distributes multilingual children/baby books. In the UK the World Literacy Foundation also has made a pack to new mothers to whom English would not be their first language to improve literacy and help them improve their standard of life. Even in the United States of America there is a literacy crisis.
This gap can be measured by 30 million words, and this stretches from learners who live in poverty to those who are afforded the best education money can buy. Although it is not just the socioeconomics that divide America’s literate, literacy rates also greatly range between racial groups. To support American learners the World Literacy Foundation has encouraged 150 schools to participate in International literacy Day. In February 2019 a project called Michigan Reads debuted; this is an initiative to provide tutoring and literacy resources to children from all backgrounds in Michigan. In America there are also over 60 Youth Ambassadors who promote literacy in their schools and communities. Global projects The World Literacy Foundation hosts several global projects a year. The most popular being the International Day of Literacy.