International #LiteracyDay

This is not a trick. Imagine not being able to read this simple sentence. Seems impossible right? Well, International Literacy Association (ILA) estimates that 780 million adults, nearly two-thirds of whom are women, do not know how to read and write. They also estimate that 94—115 million children worldwide do not have access to education. International Literacy Day is just one way the Association strives to increase literacy around the world.

This is not a trick. Imagine not being able to read this simple sentence. Seems impossible right? Well, International Literacy Association (ILA) estimates that 780 million adults, nearly two-thirds of whom are women, do not know how to read and write. They also estimate that 94—115 million children worldwide do not have access to education. International Literacy Day is just one way the Association strives to increase literacy around the world.

The theme of International Literacy Day 2015 is Literacy and Sustainable Societies. Literacy is a key driver for sustainable development. Literacy skills are the prerequisite for the learning of a broader set of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values, required for creating sustainable societies. At the same time, progress in areas of sustainable development, such as health and agriculture, serves as an enabling factor in the promotion of literacy and literate environments.

New technologies, including mobile telephones, also offer fresh opportunities for literacy for all. We must invest more, and I appeal to all Members States and all our partners to redouble our efforts – political and financial – to ensure that literacy is fully recognized as one of the most powerful accelerators of sustainable development. The future starts with the alphabet.
— UNESCO Director-General

Thinking it only effects poor countries? Well, this is not the case.  I worked in a bookstore while in college and I can tell you the rate of illiterate people is astounding.  Here are the facts: 

32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read.
— http://www.statisticbrain.com/number-of-american-adults-who-cant-read/

Some may say why is this important? So what if they can't read or write.  In our world everyone where everyone is trying to send a message, tell a story, make a statement, or sell a product, knowing how to read is important.   If our audience doesn't know what we are saying, what do you think they are going to take away from it?   How will someone's inability to read change your message? 

Reading opens people's mind to new ideas, new worlds, and creativity. 

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IBTimes UK has compiled the following quotes from famous personalities to celebrate, support and encourage literacy:

"A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins." - Benjamin Franklin

"The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read." - Mark Twain

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." - Frederick Douglass

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death" - Albert Einstein

"It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength." - Maya Angelou

"Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope." - Kofi Annan

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." - B.B. King

"I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp." - JK Rowling

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." - Garrison Keillor