Reading the word and reading the world on International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day was first celebrated on September 8, 1966, to raise awareness of the importance of literacy for people of all ages in all places around the world.

Raising awareness about literacy happens intentionally and surprisingly in subtle and overt moments in our everyday lives. The meaning of being aware of literacy, particularly adult literacy is much more than public awareness campaigns. Today, and everyday consider and question what is presumed to be literacy/literate in the act of reading, writing, counting and making meaning of all kinds of texts, symbols, images and gestures.

More than just skills literacy is about how we use language and different forms of texts to communicate, express, and understand the local and larger world we live in. Literacy is everywhere from Facebook to signing your name using American Sign Language or pen on paper. Raising awareness about literacy as a human right is what International Literacy Day is all about.

Paulo Freire (1921-1997), a Brazilian educator and political philosopher, wrote Pedagody of the Oppressed in 1970  linking literacy and liberation. From his experiences teaching farm workers in Brazil  he understood that the way we “read the word and world”, critical consciousness “conscientização” is the real power of literacy. Literacy as a human right opens us up to issues of oppression and power.  Read more on Freire

On September 8 ask someone what reading the word and the world means….and keep the conversation going all year long.

beyond my reach
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