September 8 is International Literacy Day! Created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO), this day is set aside to promote writing and reading. Celebrations will be happening in homes, towns, cities, and countries around the world to advocate literacy’s importance on both the societal and economic level.
There are many ways you can help to encourage literacy in your community: volunteer tutoring, making literary gifts, and spreading the word on social media using the hashtag #internationalliteracyday. And here are a few additional ways you can encourage literacy:
Attend an author reading or book signing. Does your favorite author have a new book out? Is a celebrity you admire on a book tour to support his or her memoir? If an author you’re interested in is going to be promoting a book in your neck of the woods, gather up your family and friends and attend the event! It’s a great opportunity to get to know the writers you love to read.
Join or host a book club. If you’ve read a new book and are just dying to talk about it with someone, why not join or start a book club? Break out the hors d’oeuvres and begin the conversation! It’s a fun way to meet fellow readers and talk shop about your favorite characters, writers, and books. If you don’t think your house is a suitable setting for the club, try meeting in coffee shops, restaurants, or even the local park.
Support organizations that promote literacy. If you’re an avid reader who wants to raise awareness about the benefits of reading, you can get involved with charities and organizations that promote and support literacy. Whether it’s a local school charity or a nationwide organization, volunteering or making a donation will feel instantly gratifying, and you’ll know your time and money will be helping a worthy cause. Undeveloped or impoverished countries and communities need your help the most. To get started, take a look at this listing of literary charities.
Donate books. Have a few books that you can bear to part with? Donate them to your local library! Your books will be put to good use, and someone else will have the pleasure of enjoying them as much as you have.
Start a Little Free Library. Aspiring librarians rejoice! This organization will help you build and/or maintain a little library at your home or place of business. If you’re good at working with your hands, this is a great opportunity to show off your craftsmanship while also promoting reading in your community! Connect with fellow “stewards” and promote the latest books in your little free library!
And, most importantly—read! What better way to promote literacy than by reading? If you’ve been too busy with work, life, or even with writing, this is the perfect opportunity to crack open a good book and get back to reading. Remember: Reading offers excellent health benefits, and reading like a writer will improve your own work.