International Literacy Day: How You Can Make A Difference Right Here In Nashville

Today marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day.

Fifty years ago, UNESCO declared September 8 International Literacy Day to actively mobilize the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities, and societies.

This year, UNESCO is celebrating under the banner “Reading the Past, Writing the Future”, celebrating five decades of advancement in national and international literacy engagement and progress in increasing literacy rates around the world. It also addresses current challenges and looks to innovative solutions to further boost literacy in the future.

At the Nashville Adult Literacy Council, International Literacy Day gives us the opportunity to reflect on our own past successes, and to look at how we can continue to address the literacy crisis here at home.

More than 36 million adults in the U.S. struggle to read, write, do math, and use technology above a third grade level. The recent Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies found that the U.S. mean literacy score was below the international average, with the U.S. ranking 16th out of 24 countries. The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that, right here in Nashville, as many as 1 in 8 adults struggles with basic prose literacy skills.

Low literacy is a global issue, but the effects can be felt right here at home. It has been our mission for nearly 35 years to help empower adults in our community through literacy. Over the years our program has grown hugely and we are now the largest literacy nonprofit in Davidson County. This past year, we served over 1,700 adult learners in our community. With your help, we could reach even more adults in our community who are in need of vital literacy services.

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