September 8th is International Literacy Day and an opportunity to celebrate, learn and help others in the community.
International Literacy Day was created by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) to recognize the importance of literacy and promote literacy in society and communities worldwide.
This year is especially important because of the challenges COVID-19 presents in education for children. As per the UNESCO website, the theme this year is “Literacy for a human-centered recovery: Narrowing the digital divide,” part of which centers on ways to promote literacy as part of the recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic while emphasizing the role of technology and digital learning as part of this process.
As a parent, I am always focusing on keeping reading and writing fun and engaging for my children. The challenge at times is finding creative ways to do so. I also want to incorporate some activities with my kids that emphasizes looking outward to our community and others to recognize the importance of literacy and education, especially during the pandemic that has caused many challenges for children and educators.
Below is a list of ways to encourage and inspire young readers and writers and get involved in helping others along the way:
1. Donating and Gifting Books
You can donate to New Haven Reads and Goodwill or check schools and local libraries to see if donations are welcome. Also, check out the Darien Book Aid, a non-profit and volunteer organization that promotes education and donates books to children around the world.
2. Pen Pals
Write a letter to your favorite author, communicate with family and close friends. Also, check out globalpenfriends.com for opportunities to write to others abroad and share stories.
3. Start a Book Swap and Reading Lists with Friends and Neighbors
Create your own library and have kids make library cards.
4. Donate Money to Literacy or Education Programs
5. Look into Tutoring and Volunteer Opportunities
This may need to be in the future for in-person tutoring, but it could also be virtual. Kids could also be involved in helping younger readers outside of school hours. Also, check New Haven Reads and the Darien Book Aid for ways to volunteer and get involved.
6. Book Club with Family and Friends
This is a great way to stay connected to family and share a love for reading and writing. Make it weekly or monthly and set a time to share reading experiences.
Above are just a few ideas to help inspire and promote literacy during September and beyond.