Celebrating International Literacy Day


Today is marks the 50th Anniversary of UNESCO’s International Literacy Day. The theme for 2016 is appropriately “Reading the Past, Writing the Future”.

“The world has changed since (the first celebration on September 8) 1966 – but our determination to provide every woman and man with the skills, capacities and opportunities to become everything they wish, in dignity and respect, remains as firm as ever. Literacy is a foundation to build a more sustainable future for all.”                              Irena Bokova, UNESCO Director-General

At the International Literacy Annual Conference in Boston, MA in July 2016, Literacy educators and enthusiasts from all over the world came together to share their passion for literacy.  Of course there is a keen interest in moving towards the UNESCO goal of universal free access to school by 2030.  Conflicts and lack of resources are cited as huge stumbling blocks for making this happen.  I am an optimist by nature and very much believe in the tenacity of educators and people willing to strive towards this dream.  The ILARI Partnership SIG presented a session called “Celebrating the 3Rs of International Literacy Day: Rational, Resources and Results.”

The link to this PowerPoint presentation is found below if you could not attend the conference in Boston, MA.

Garth Brooks, our Treasurer of the Reading BC (the provincial council of the International Literacy Association), as well as Membership Director/Treasure of the ILA Canadian Special Interest Group, has collated some helpful links to other International Literacy Day resources including the Donations for Books for Children of Fort McMurray, Alberta Program, a project undertaken by the Canadian SIG on Literacy. The residents of Fort McMurray were affected by a massive fire and subsequent evacuation. The students are just returning to school this week after being quickly evacuated in early May 2016.

In her message, Ms Bokova states that there is still a lot of work to do. “There remain today 758 millions adults who cannot read or write a simple sentence. Two thirds of them are women. Unable to read or write, they are held back from their full potential.”

It is our task as educators to stress the importance of reading and writing in today’s world for not only learning but also for enjoyment. Home Reading programs have become fixtures in many classrooms.  People like @Carrie Gelson regularly tweet out great book options for primary.  Kids Lit Quiz is one way to focus students on regular reading and provides lists for intermediate students.  Students may also be enthused about becoming engaged in a literacy program in a developing country.

Today at Tecumseh it is a great opportunity to pull students together and celebrate what we come to school to do!  And I will have the opportunity to initiate one of my favorite purchases at the ILA Conference, my Dr. Seuss t-shirt.  Happy International Reading Day!

Thanks again for collating all of the resources, Garth.

These resources provided by ILA will provide helpful assistance in improving literacy rates in the developing world. The ILA country of focus for ILD 2016 is Jamaica.



UNESCO International Literacy Day – Thursday, September 8, 2016

Background Information on ILD


ILD 2016 Poster


ILD 2016 Infographic


UNESCO’s 2016 Literacy Prize Winners


ILARI Partnership SIG 2016 Session

Celebrating the 3Rs of International Literacy Day: Rationale, Resources and Results


Background to the C SIG-L’s Donations for Books for Children of Fort McMurray Program


Battling the Beast – Summary and Slideshow from CBC



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