Thursday 9 September 2010

International Literacy Day

You probably don't know this but yesterday was International Literacy Day. I received an e-mail from a PR Company that I met at CyberMummy asking if I'd be interested in writing a post about it to generate some interest as they are doing some pro bono work for the campaign.  I inherited a real passion for reading from my Dad and was an avid reader from a young age who would devour anything that I could get my hands on so I’m happy to do anything to help with raising awareness.

I was very proud of being in the advanced group of readers at school when I was about 8….yes I’ve always been easily pleased!! When I was a teenager I had two library cards, one for the library in my home town and one for the village library where my best friend lived.  It sounds ridiculous but between us we read almost every book that the village library had to offer. I can still devour a book in one sitting although obviously since I had Chick I don’t get so much chance to do this.  I like to think that I have eclectic reading tastes but actually these days my taste is similar to my taste in cinema so tends to be cheesy, funny books aimed at women, Harry Potter or Diana Gabaldon with maybe a little soft spot for the Twilight series.  I also think that if it wasn’t for the amount of reading I did as a Teenager I wouldn’t have been so inclined to want to see the world.

I still live in my home town which has rather a large College and University population and to reflect this, a big library.  Not only do they have books (a surprise, huh!!) but also a whole children’s section with comfy couches and teddies, activities and book hunts for kids, free internet access, a local history centre, newspaper archives and DVD’s & CD’s for hire, which the secret geek in me thinks makes it a pretty cool place to hang out.

Once Chick was born and I was a stay at home Mum, we had a crazy amount of clubs that we used to go along too, one of which was called Wriggly Readers at the library.  It involved singing and stories and all kinds of fun and we attended from Chick being about 8 weeks old, which was the age she got her first library card!!!! I don’t know if she just inherited the gene or if it’s because she was around books but Chick is also crazy about books and also loves the library.  If she is given a choice of what she wants to do anytime she won’t pick theme parks or expensive treats, she chooses a trip to the park and the library.  Guess she also inherited some of my secret geekiness!!

I’m so grateful that both Chick and I are fortunate enough to have been taught to read and have enough money to have a house full of books as well as the facilities of a great library.  I can’t help but think how different my life would be if I couldn’t read. I would never have moved to Germany or California. I would never have visited Vietnam. I wouldn’t have a great job or be able to write this blog.  I can’t imagine how difficult life would be without the ability to decipher words. It must be like living in a foreign country the whole time.  How do you do all the things that the rest of us take for granted like the bedtime story, applying for jobs, filling in forms? 

Did you know that there are 776 million people worldwide that can’t read or write? Did you also know that there are twice as many illiterate women as men?  So what can you do to help? You can click on the link to find out more or follow @roomtoread on Twitter here.

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