Literacy is always and only about sharing. Sometimes that sharing is between author and reader, between co-authors or among readers, sometimes even between self and future self. So, just to be clear here, there really isn’t “world literacy” without pencils and paper and books in ALL people’s hands. Prior to that happy day, World Literacy is just a glorious possibility.
So how’d we do, yesterday?!
For the most part, world literacy is like motherhood and apple pie. Everybody is FOR it.There are of course those few places around the world where those in power seek to eliminate literacy, apparently because they don’t want others (girls and women, others they wish to subjugate) to share in the bountiful thought and information that literacy brings.
However, with the exception of those horrid situations the biggest problem faced by those of us seeking to impact world literacy is getting books and people together. We can teach pretty much everybody to read and write, but if we all learn to read and write, yet have nothing to read, or worse, have plenty to read, but don’t do it, that’s like being all dressed up and having no place to party!
At a minimum, what is needed for World Literacy is:
- Access – a way for everyone to get to abundant books
- Relevance – the books available to each reader have to MEAN something to them, personally
- Engagement – readers, either alone or with more experienced reading mentors have to choose to read and think about those books.
If there were increments in any of these three fundamental areas of literacy, then there is much to celebrate on World Literacy Day. If any of these remained unchanged, or worsened in the experience of those in need of literacy, then those of us committed to World Literacy need to refocus, reconsider and redouble our efforts, and…