The Complete Teacher


Increasing literacy at the local level

Posted by Hlengiwe Zwane on 16 March 2023, 14:10 SAST
Hlengiwe Zwane photo

The global and governmental levels for improving and promoting literacy will take efforts worldwide, there is a wide range of opportunities that can help improve literacy on a local level.

Literacy is fundamental to reducing poverty, building life skills, and achieving gender equality. And yet, according to research there are about 773 million youth and adults in the world who can’t read. Children are at a greater risk now than ever since the pandemic than ever of losing vital reading skills. 

A majority of adults can’t maintain employment because of their inability to read or write. In less-developed nations such as Niger, only 19% of adults can read and write that number drops to 11% for women. Gender inequality in literacy affects the opportunities and quality of life of women and girls worldwide. Improved literacy can increase employment opportunities and empower children as well as adults alike to lead better lives. Below are four key actions that can promote literacy in your community.

1. Volunteer in a local literacy program.

Wherever you are, there’s probably some kind of charitable literacy program around your area. Reading aloud to children helps build early literacy and social skills. Research shows that students that come from low-income households regularly score lower on reading assessments every year. 

One study conducted found positive impacts on students’ reading skills in communities that have literacy programs running. Get involved and find a literacy program in your area or better yet start up one in your area.  

2. Donate books.

You can help by donating or starting a fundraiser to buy books for children or schools that are in need. You can reach out to organisations anywhere near you or abroad that distribute books or give back to their communities around your area or all around the world.

3. Contribute to libraries.

If you’re in the city area or suburban neighbourhood, you may have passed one of these creative book-sharing programs on the street. Tiny libraries are a growing trend that can help promote literacy in your community. Getting involved can be easy: Simply drop off your gently used books in one of these fairy home-like boxes. If there are none nearby, you can also start your own. 

These are just the top 3 things that we have identified that can help improve literacy skills in your area. Let us know other ways people can improve literacy skills in their areas. Use the box below to add your comments or share your tips.

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