Sept 8 Is International Literacy Day!
Happy International Literacy Day! It's such a wonderful time to celebrate literacy and the love of reading! With a desire to highlight the importance of literacy, UNESCO first declared September 8 to be International Literacy Day back in 1965. Today, because having the skills to use technology to find, create or communicate information is so important, this year's theme is Literacy in a Digital World.
To celebrate this day, I've come up with five literacy tips called the Five Es.
Tip 1: Read Everyday
Experts say that reading aloud to your child for just 15 minutes a day improves their literacy skills. But what about you? Most of us read throughout the day, whether it be a menu, sign or an advertisement, but when was the last time you sank into a great book? What's good for children is also good for you! Reading every day for your own reasons can help develop your own literacy skills and it is a great habit to start today.
Tip 2: Explore
We all have our favourites. Just like our favourite dessert or colour, we all have a genre that we love to read. Some people enjoy a great mystery novel, while others prefer romance. But have you ever wondered what else is out there? How about trying a mix of genres like mystery-romance or reading something totally new? The possibilities are endless. Whatever your pleasure, try reading a different genre this month. I never read science fiction until a certain show became my addiction (cue Game of Thrones theme music please). Now, I've not only ventured into sci-fi but into fantasy novels as well.
Tip 3: Expand
UNESCO has seen the importance of being literate in a digital world and Toronto Public Library has as well. Our ebook collection has grown incredibly over the last few years and can be accessed through Overdrive. We've also boosted STEM programs for children and added programs for library users of all ages in our Digital Innovation Hubs and Pop Up Learning Labs. In addition to digital literacy, why not expand your understanding of financial literacy and health literacy. Reading, writing and math provide a solid foundation, now it's time to build other literacy pillars!
Tip 4: Educate
Your Toronto Public Library card gives you access to thousands of online courses for free. That's right! Learn from your home, laptop or anywhere that you can connect online. Choose from one of our many digital learning platforms; Lynda.com, Safari, Mango Languages and Gale Courses.
If you would like to brush up on your speaking skills, you can attend ESL programs at the library or borrow one of our many books, CDs and DVDs. Perhaps you would simply like to improve your reading or writing skills. You may be eligible for one-on-one tutoring in the library's Adult Literacy program. The program provides free tutoring to English-speaking adults in basic reading, writing or math.
To observe International Literacy Day, the learners in the library's Adult Literacy program provided words that they felt best describes them. Together, these words formed this wonderful word cloud. Download the poster (PDF) and be inspired!
Tip 5: Enjoy
Even though this should go without saying, it is worth a reminder. Reading for pleasure is a key motivator for readers of all ages. So what do you do if you aren't enjoying the book that you so carefully picked out or that your best friend recommended? Do you quit after reading a few chapters? Do you plow through as though reading this was a school assignment? Should you start skimming and skipping sections? That is entirely up to you! Reading for pleasure should be enjoyable. Besides, unless the author is your best friend...who is going to know?