Today is International Literacy Day

Today, Sept. 8, is International Literacy Day. It was founded in 1967 by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) and continues to be celebrated on Sept. 8 each year.

International Literacy Day focuses attention on the need to promote worldwide literacy. Nearly 800 million people — one fifth of the world’s adult population — do not know how to read or write. Women make up two-thirds of this number. More than 67.4 million school children do not attend school.

In the United States, 36 million American adults struggle to read, do math and use technology above a third-grade level. These individuals struggle to read a menu, fill out a job application, or read a bedtime story to their child. Children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72 percent chance of being at low reading levels themselves. A mother’s level of reading skill is the greatest determinant of her child’s academic success. People with low skills are four times more likely to have poor health. The salaries of adults with below basic literacy skills are, on average, $28,000 lower than salaries of those with more proficient skills.

ProLiteracy is the leading resource and champion for adult education and literacy worldwide.In 2002, Laubach International and Literacy Volunteers of America, two of the oldest and largest adult literacy organizations, merged to create ProLIteracy. As the largest adult literacy and basic education membership organization in the United States, ProLiteracy believes that a safer, stronger, and more sustainable society starts with an educated adult population. For more than 60 years, Proliteracy has been working across the world to change lives and communities through the power of literacy. One thousand member programs in the United States and twenty two countries provide adult literacy instruction.

Literacy Volunteers of Randolph County is a member of ProLiteracy America and will celebrate International Literacy Day by having Van Broughton, mayor of Elkins, along with other mayors in Randolph County, sign a proclamation declaring Sept. 8 as International Literacy Day in their communities. Posters and social media will celebrate the day around the world with the theme “Education transforms lives.”

The Literacy Volunteers of Randolph County office is located at the YMCA in Elkins. For further information about being tutored , or to volunteer to be a tutor, call 304 636-4515. If there is no one in the office, please leave a message and someone will return your call as soon as possible.

Make a difference and change a life — teach an adult to read!