Focus on Literacy Program Bulletin
When was the last time you read a book? Shared a special moment with your children, grandchildren, or favorite niece or nephew while reading a book? For many of us this is a daily occurrence, but for those less fortunate it is a rare occasion to open a book. Some people may not own books, have a library card borrow a book or sadly have the ability to read. Many of the states have proven that they are effectively sharing the joys of literacy with others in their states.
It is time for all of us to support this worthy cause. It is simple and relatively inexpensive. Interactive reading inspires results. Volunteer at your local school or library. Bring books to a day care center or shelter. Support a library in a remote location with donations of books. Send books through Operation Paperback to our soldiers overseas. Donate magazine and paperback books to your hospital or doctors’ waiting rooms. The possibilities are endless, and they can become realties with your help. No donation is too small or will it remain unappreciated by those who receive it. A bookplate enclose with each book with your GFWC club name would be an excellent way to share who you are and what you do. As you can see, it is simple and so easy to include different departments in one project and reap so many benefits.
Others who working to promote literacy:
- Room to Read is an organization which has proven that it is very easy to give the joy of books to those in other parts of the world. We are our neighbors’ keeper and should feel the responsibilities to end world poverty through literacy. Room to Read partners with local communities to provide quality educational opportunities by establishing libraries, distributing books, and constructing schools, and in particular providing education to girls in third world countries. It has been noted that there are 780 million illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds of whom are women. Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and educating young women creates a stable family influence. Learn more by visiting www.RoomToRead.org.
- The ability to read and receive pleasure from reading can be a difficult burden to those who are unable to accomplish the task. No one wants anyone to know they can’t read. They hide their lack of ability but as with most things hidden, it eventually becomes known, and it can be an insurmountable task to overcome. That is where the literacy volunteers enter. The National Center for Family Literacy believes that volunteering becomes a two-way street. When you give your time and expertise to those less literate, you receive the satisfaction of improving lives and life in those communities. You develop new skills and discover a personal growth in a job well done. Learn more about literacy volunteers by connecting to www.FamLit.org.
- Books on Tape are an excellent way to share the joy of literacy with learning or physically impaired. The Library of Congress has become an eager partner with all of our states, and it is a simple task to connect with the representatives in your area to find out ways to share this service and offer it to others in your communities.
World Literacy Day will be celebrated on September 8. Why not plan an activity in your community to celebrate? Hold a Community Reading Festival and encourage local celebrities to share their favorite book with children. Work with your libraries and schools to organize an event that shares the joy of learning and reading. Create a contest and give books as prizes, hold an ice cream social around reading. Work with your local bookstores to share their enthusiasm for books. Create a share a book with a friend day. Have children bring their favorite stuffed animal to school and read to their animal with a reading buddy. There are so many novel ways to approach this celebration. I’m leaving them up to you to create. Remember to share your World Literacy Celebrations in your reports. Some wonderful sites to visit for information on Literacy participation are listed in your Focus on Literacy pages in the Club Manual. Please make use of these resources.
Literacy and the joy it brings to many is a task in which all clubs need to investigate. There are always many new approaches to sharing within your communities here and elsewhere in the world. Why not celebrate reading and give books to a class of early readers? Owning a book is a privilege and one that not everyone shares. If the need is not as great in your area, adopt a shelter, a school, a library elsewhere. Consider a project with another organizations or even another club in your state or in another state. The ideas are endless so please share your successes with all of us in GFWC and don’t forget to report.
Dates to Remember:
» March 2—Read Across America celebrates Dr. Seuss’ Birthday
» April 12—Drop Everything and Read Day (DEAR)
» May 3-9—Teacher’s Appreciation Week
» September 8—World Literacy Day
» November 1—National Author’s Day
—Mary Ann Pierce (Mass.), GFWC Focus on Literacy Program Chairman