"Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him." Maya Angelou
We take for granted the ability to read but for too many people, reading can be an almost insurmountable challenge.
- According to ProLiteracy, 63 million adults — 29 percent of the U.S. adult population—over age 16 don’t read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level.
- The 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey noted that forty-four million adults in the U.S. can't read well enough to read a simple story to a child.
- National Assessment of Educational Progress reports that forty-four percent of American 4th grade students cannot read fluently, even when they read grade-level stories aloud under supportive testing conditions.
As writers, we must do our part (giving our time or money) to support organizations that focus on literacy.
Book Aid International: Book Aid International increases access to books and supports literacy, education and development in sub-Saharan Africa.
First Book: First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 85 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities.
Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT): Literacy for Incarcerated Teens, Inc. (LIT) is the only non-profit organization of its kind working to end illiteracy among New York’s incarcerated young people by inspiring them to read.
Literacy Inc.: Literacy Incorporated is a non-profit organization on a mission to fight illiteracy across America by reaching out to high school students in all corners of the continental United States.
Literacy Partners: Literacy Partners programs offer the entire literacy continuum teaching adults to read, to do basic math along with financial and health literacy.
ProLiteracy: ProLiteracy champions the power of literacy to improve the lives of adults and their families, communities, and societies, helping to build the capacity and quality of programs that are teaching adults to read, write, compute, use technology, and learn English as a new language.
Raising a Reader: Raising A Reader (RAR) is a national nonprofit organization that has helped families successfully build and sustain literacy routines in their homes since 1999.
Reach Out And Read: Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud.
Reading is Fundamental: Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States. We prepare and motivate children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most. We inspire children to be lifelong readers through the power of choice.
Reading Partners: Reading Partners is dedicated to transforming struggling young readers into confident readers who are excited about learning.
United Through Reading: Our mission is to unite families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud together. Our vision is that all children will feel the security of caring family relationships and develop a love of reading through the read aloud experience.
For more links, visit Literacy Connections. (Go to Links To Independent Literacy Programs for state-specific lists.)
VolunteerMatch is another great source for finding literacy programs.
For more information on supporting literacy programs, go to the Galley Cat’s 10 Charities That Promote Literacy.
And most of all, take the time today to read to someone!