Posted by Linda Flynn (West Ottawa)
The September Rotarian is a good read! Why wouldn't I say that as literacy chair?  So, make it a goal, during September which is Literacy month, to make the time to read it.
Inspired to update my literacy rate statistics for Canada & the USA I learned that both countries have remained steady since 2008 to 2014 at anywhere from 85 – 99% depending on the study.  This sounds good until you realize the number of illiterate Canadians is 2 in 5 adults or 9 million and with seniors (65 +) included there are 12 million people. For the USA, the government uses 19% for the number of illiterate Americans or 62 million.
Imagine that you cannot complete everyday tasks, read a newspaper article, understand written job tasks, appointment dates, bank or other legal papers, application forms, sign your name, notes your child brings from school, computer tasks and so on.
We know literacy is a result of a good education. We must remember literacy knows no boundaries…. age, income level, ethnic background, and gender. Some barriers to becoming literate include undiagnosed learning disabilities, hearing & vision loss, lack of a role model who encourages education,  poverty, family violence, low self esteem & confidence, left school early to care for sick/dying person or make family income, moved a lot, refugee camp living, or being a foreigner in a new country.
What does this mean for us as Rotarians? It means there are plenty of opportunities to help improve literacy in our local or international communities. Let's all continue to seek out those opportunities with club initiatives to support RI Foundation area of focus: Literacy & Basic Education. Think Dictionary4Life, reading to students, Homework club volunteering, book donations, little libraries in our neighbourhood just to name few. Check out the District Literacy Strategic plan on our 7040 website for ideas of how your club can support literacy.
Just under1800 Dictionary4Life books were collected by 15 clubs in our District in August. Each club will hand each one of the books individually to Grade 3 students this fall in schools throughout our District. This project is supported with a District Simplified Grant.
Remember that September 8th is UN International Literacy Day which is “celebrated annually on 8 September, is an opportunity for Governments, civil society and stakeholders to highlight improvements in world literacy rates and reflect on the world’s remaining literacy challenges. The issue of literacy is a key component of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Learn more at:
Happy reading!