Organized annually by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, International Literacy Day acts as a reminder of the importance of literacy and adult learning globally.
Despite many and varied efforts, literacy remains an elusive target-- some 796 million adults lack minimum literacy skills, which means about one in six adults is still not literate; 67.4 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.
In West Virginia, one out of every five adults in West Virginia is considered a low-level reader. In some areas of the state, one in three adults has trouble reading.
“This means that some of our residents cannot do what many of us take for granted -- read road signs, job applications, newspaper articles or a simple story to their child,” said state Superintendent Jorea Marple. “We cannot let that cycle continue. When we help children become good readers in the early grades, they are more likely to perform well in other subjects and all through their school days. It is the key building block to developing skills that lead to college and career success.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said International Literacy “offers an important reminder that the critical tasks of preventing violence, calming tensions and ending conflicts all demand attention to this fundamental aspect of human dignity.”
“Literacy unlocks the capacity of individuals to imagine and create a more fulfilling future,” he said. “It opens the way to greater justice, equality and progress. Literacy can help societies heal, advance political processes and contribute to the common good.”
Schools can acknowledge the day by participating in a readathon, kicking off a cross-grade reading buddy program, among other events.
For more information, contact the Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.
--The West Virginia Board of Education and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) are committed to ensuring all students in the state are college and career ready when they graduate from a public school. What West Virginia students are learning in school exceeds national and international standards. Through the WVDE’s 21st century learning plan called “Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it.,” West Virginia is seeing better student performance on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2 (WESTEST2); the SAT and the ACT college entrance exams; the job skills assessment called Work Keys given to career and technical education students; and in a high school graduation rate that exceeds the national average.