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Daily Gives That Support Literacy Day

Let’s support literacy! September 8th is International Literacy Day, and it’s the perfect chance to plan your daily give to support literacy. In turn, your daily give will improve futures for everyone. Because literacy is fundamental, it not only enriches a person’s life, but it creates opportunities for people to provide for themselves and their families.

Some of us take reading and writing for granted. If you live in a developed country, you likely started school and learned to read and write at a young age. Unfortunately, not everyone has this luxury. In some countries, the literacy rate (the number of people that are least 15 years old that can read and write), is very low.

Many countries are fortunate to have high literacy rates with ample opportunities for developing skills in reading and writing, while others have staggeringly low literacy rates. Nations like Canada, the US, Italy, Russia, Korea, Hungary, Poland, and Cuba enjoy literacy rates of 99% and higher. At the same time, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Guinea and the Central African Republic have literacy rates lower than 40%. There are also countries where the percentage of the literate population is even lower, such as South Sudan, where only 27% of the population can read and write, and Niger, where their literacy rate of 19% is currently the lowest in the world.

The statistics are startling. According to the United Nations, 773 million adults and young people lack basic literacy skills and 617 million children, and adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics.

The fact is, literacy is power. The ability to seek out and understand information gives us all independence to make choices, to learn about our communities, and to advocate for ourselves and others and those lacking basic reading and writing skills are at a tremendous disadvantage. Literacy is a powerful tool against poverty.

This is why UNESCO created International Literacy Day in 1966, to remind us of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the need for greater efforts toward a more literate world. Today, over 50 years later, it seems more important than ever to focus our attention on intensifying literacy efforts. During global pandemic lockdowns, literacy challenges have been magnified. Schools closed, and most adult literacy programmes that did exist were suspended. For some, such as myself in Toronto, Canada, pandemic protocols have also resulted in libraries remaining closed.

Advocating for literacy is needed now more than ever.  Whether focusing your attention locally or to the broader global community, now is the perfect time to use your daily give to support literacy and create change. And remember – No give or act of advocacy is too small. You might make a difference in an individual’s relationship with reading or books or writing in ways you see, and in ways, you don’t. But each step, and each give, makes a difference.

Donate to Organizations That Support Literacy

A small donation of $5 can help an organization like the World Literacy Foundation to provide learning resources to children in some of the most vulnerable nations of the world. Contributing to efforts like these will help to lift young people out of poverty through the power of literacy.

Volunteer at a Local Organization that Supports Literacy

Just about every town or city has one. Donate your time with an organization supporting literacy efforts. Help new English learners strengthen their skills, assist recent immigrants to read the necessary documents that navigate them towards building a new life. Start searching online to find a place where a little bit of your time can make a big difference.

Donate Supplies to Local Schools and Literacy Programs

Families have tight budgets, and schools are under-funded. A simple donation of a pack of pencils, pens, or erasers can help. If you are interested in assisting a specific school or program, contact them to see what their classroom needs, or simply surprise one near you today. 

Get a Library Card for Your Public Library

If you already have one, bring someone along who doesn’t. Encourage your friends or family to get theirs. Make sure your kids have their own as well. The more people that have library cards, the better. Library card counts, and the number of items checked out are important statistics that are collected and used to advocate for and secure more funding for public libraries. If, like me, your public library is currently closed for COVID-19 regulations, keep this idea on the back burner for your much-anticipated return. In the meantime, take advantage of your library’s digital services of online reading materials, these stats matter too, and the best part of online books – no late fees!

Give Books to Children in Need

There are likely non-profit or government agencies in your area where the gift of a book would mean the world to a child. Shelters for homeless families, for example, not only need children’s books inside their facilities but may also collect book donations to be used as presents during the holidays. This give will not only encourage an appreciation for reading but may also provide a treasured gift for a vulnerable child whose world is anything but a fairy tale.

Create a Little Free Library to Support Literacy

Foster a love for books on a tiny patch of your front lawn or join with neighbours to make one in your community. Everyone can come together to donate books and encourage reading and sharing locally.

Give Teachers Gift Cards To Local A Bookstore

Even better, make it a local independent, or online independent bookstore, this way, you are supporting literacy, teachers, AND small businesses.

Speak Up About The Importance of Literacy

Send emails or write letters to local representatives and officials expressing the importance of libraries, schools, literacy programs, and events that promote reading and writing. Encourage increased and continual funding for literary programs and services that enrich the lives of many.

Supporting literacy and helping someone to read and write effectively improves the future of everyone in society, so start planning your literacy gives now. For these and other giving ideas join the 365give community today.



What people are saying about 365give

“I wanted to express my gratitude for the teaching you provided today. Your message was delivered eloquently, compassionately, and without judgment. The kids were engaged, and now have knowledge with which they can change the world. We all appreciated how you took the time to help us learn to build positive mindsets and practice happiness.”
Shelley Gardner, Grade 6 Ridgeview Elementary (West Vancouver)
“Actions really do speak louder than words, which is why I believe the 365give Challenge has resonated throughout my community. Every give we do is so important to us and leaves us happier and appreciating our lives a little bit more than before.”
Mahina Niyozova (Tajikistan)
“After watching the 365give TEDx Talk, I was inspired to join and begin a daily giving program in India. Today, along with 12 other volunteer women, we provide 100 meals to local underprivileged children in Bangalore for school every day.”
Deepika Ahuja, Mom (Bangalore, India)
“My life has greater meaning now.”
Renate Jorge, @BeKindBrazil and 365give Member, Family Program (Brazil)
“I just wanted to share that 365give really helped me. I am a better person now, thank you.”
MayLee, 365give Member, Individual Program
“This 365give Challenge has really injected excitement and extra enthusiasm in each work day as I think about what we can do. It has motivated me and the students.”
Cristina Peters, School Counselor (New York City, USA)
“I have seen a huge shift in energy throughout my classroom since doing the 365give Challenge. The Challenge has empowered my students to make a positive difference in the school’s community and beyond.”
Cella Adriana, Special Needs Educator /The Holliswood School (New York City, USA)
“The 365give Challenge helps students understand their impact on others. It opens avenues for introducing and discussing global and local issues in classrooms. It is powerful to watch students of all ages think about how they can make a change in another person’s life with one small act.”
Jessica Hall, Primary Teacher, French Immersion at École Pauline Johnson (West Vancouver, Canada)