September is Literacy Awareness Month – Literacy NY Launches Stop Reading Challenge | Education


FULTON – September is Literacy Awareness Month. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) founded International Literacy Day. The first International Literacy Day was celebrated on September 8, 1967 and continues to be celebrated on September 8 of each year. This day emphasizes the need to promote literacy around the world, said Margaret Henderson, program coordinator, Oswego County Opportunities Literacy Volunteers. UNESCO estimates that at least 773 million young people and adults around the world still cannot read and write, and that 250 million children are not learning basic literacy skills.

The National Literacy Coalition calls for Congress to recognize one week each year as National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. This year, that week is September 19-25. The goal of this week is to work collaboratively with every state, territory and district to raise awareness, strengthen alliances, leverage resources and increase the number of people who understand the vital role that adult education and l family literacy works for the good of our nation. being.

“More than 43 million adults in the United States cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third-grade level,” Henderson said. “What is the cost of low literacy? An estimated $ 106-238 billion in health care costs each year is related to low adult literacy. Workers with less than a high school diploma have the lowest median weekly earnings, three times less than the highest level of education. Seventy-five percent of those incarcerated in the state have not graduated from high school or can be classified as low literate.

“Getting all adults to a grade six reading level would generate an additional $ 2.2 trillion in annual income for the United States. Inmates who participate in correctional education programs are 43% less likely to reoffend than others.

“A mother’s reading skills are the biggest determinant of children’s future academic success. Reading to your children is a wonderful bonding opportunity. Hearing a story read aloud involves understanding and listening skills.

Experts at Scholastic explain that listening is a skill children must learn before they can read on their own. A 2013 study by Aisling Murray and Suzanne Egan found that babies who are read and spoken to perform better in language skills, cognitive development and problem solving. Experts from the National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning explained that reading books to children broadens their vocabulary. A 2019 study by Logan, Justice, Yumus, and Chapaanno-Morano estimated that children who are regularly read in the five years before kindergarten are exposed to 1.4 million more words than children who do not. are not read during these years. Reading to children from an early age also increases their attention span, increases their creativity, improves their social and emotional development, and teaches them life lessons.

“For those of us reading this story, reading is automatic because we developed strong literacy skills at a young age. We take the opportunities we have for granted because we can read. Three point four million New Yorkers do not have a high school diploma and / or have limited English skills. Twenty-five percent of adults in New York State are considered low literate. Twenty-two percent risk unemployment, poverty, health problems and incarceration because of low literacy. Imagine not being able to read. What would your world be like? It would be very different and difficult to go through every day, ”said Henderson.

Literacy New York is a non-profit organization that has been tackling the problem of adult literacy for nearly 50 years, helping to improve the lives of thousands of New Yorkers. Evidence has shown that 100 hours of basic literacy instruction translates into a $ 10,000 increase in annual income. This greatly improves the quality of life of individuals.

Locally, 12% of Oswego County residents read at the fifth grade level or below. The Oswego County Opportunities Literacy Volunteer Program offers one-on-one tutoring to adults in English communication, reading and math. Volunteers are certified by Literacy New York’s Tutor Training and paired with a learner for two hours per week. For more information on OCO’s Volunteer Literacy Program, contact Meg Henderson at 315-342-8839, ext. 201 or [email protected]

To encourage New Yorkers to help solve this statewide problem of low adult literacy, Literacy New York created the “Stop Reading Challenge.” It is an eye-opening experience that will show the importance of literacy and initiate people to get involved on a small scale. On September 8, International Literacy Day, Literacy New York launched its Stop Reading Challenge. They challenge New Yorkers to stop reading for just five minutes. It sounds easy not to read, but it isn’t. Everywhere people look, there is something with words on it. People automatically read them because they can, but for many it’s a challenge. To really make a difference, they need as many people as possible to take up and share the challenge. Share success or failure on social media. Donate $ 5 to support adult literacy in the event of failure. -Stop the reading challenge ”

The Oswego County Literacy Coalition (LCOC) is a coalition of local organizations and individuals dedicated to improving literacy in the county. LCOC strives to meet the literacy needs of people of all ages, the areas they cover include Basic Literacy, Workforce Literacy, Computer Literacy, Literacy in health and financial literacy. “The Literacy Coalition of Oswego County is dedicated to supporting and expanding literacy services so that people can work, our economy can grow, families can prosper, and our community can thrive,” said the president of LCOC, Paul Gugel.

For more information on the Oswego County Literacy Coalition, visit and click on the “Government” then “Administration” tabs for their website, or find them on Facebook.

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