Celebrating National Literacy Month

A month of many celebrations and events, September is also National Literacy Month.  An essential skill to the development of our families, children, and growth as a nation, literacy can get taken for granted as something that a large portion of us has had the majority of our lives.  However, the National Center for Family Literacy tells us that more than 30 million Americans are reading at below basic literacy levels.

To begin to understand literacy and the issues behind the skill, it should be understood that literacy itself is a family issue.  For children, the two biggest risk factors are low family income and a mother’s lack of education.  In fact, children’s reading scores improve exponentially when their parents are involved in helping them read.  Therefore, focusing on family literacy, as is the mission of the National Center for Family Literacy, works. It benefits everyone.

A leading advocate for the past 20 years in West Michigan, the Literacy Center of West Michigan has successfully executed their mission of education, expertise, and excellence.  The belief that literacy is not just being able to read, but more about understanding language, applying language, enriching and encouraging family life at home, at work, and in the community is at the forefront of the work performed by the Literacy Center of West Michigan.  For National Literacy Month, and beyond, the center creates community events and opportunities to learn more and help eradicate the issue.

In celebration of National Literacy Month, there are a number of things you can do as a family and with your children to encourage reading and learning.  Reading at bedtime, starting a book club with friends, visiting your local library, and many others are simple ways to incorporate regular reading.

The Literacy Center of West Michigan is implementing “Books for Bedtime” to collect books for those participating in the Family Literacy Program.  The book drive provides families with new and gently used books to promote literacy at home and create awareness through education.  More information can be found through the center on how and where to donate your books.

How do you promote literacy in your home, at work, and in your community?

Photo credit: cseesman

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