December News for You: Our Favorite Things from 2014

'Tis the season for reflecting, giving, and "best of" lists! We are so grateful for all who have given their time, talent, wisdom and energy to make this a momentous year for LitWorld. To celebrate LitWorld's 2014 milestones, here are some favorite stories from the past year. Thank you for helping the LitWorld movement soar.

A LitClub Trailblazer

Stephanie's LitWorld story began in 2009 when she joined our very first LitClub in Harlem. In the past five years we have watched her become resilient and strong in her own identity through literacy and the important work of writing down her own stories and seeking out the stories of others. Stephanie formed deep friendships with fellow LitClub members and has access to support and championing from LitWorld mentors. Belonging to this supportive literacy community allowed Stephanie to build confidence to pursue her passion for photography, the courage to be a community leader as a LitLibrarian, and the determination to live with a hopeful outlook for her future. Stephanie and every one of her fellow LitClub alumni graduated high school this year and began college.

To make sure more girls around the world receive the literacy mentorship and social support they need through LitClubs, LitWorld launched the 10,000 Global Girls Initiative with our partner Global Girls Rising. Our ground-breaking model was celebrated in Forbes Magazine, which featured an interview with Stephanie. Read the full interview here.

The Power Women: An Unstoppable Force

The Power Women Moms LitClub is a group of HIV positive women who live in the Kibera community of Nairobi. When we met the power women, we started our work together with this question: "What do you want literacy to do for you?" They told us they wanted to be able to teach their children to read, and they wanted to create a website to sell all of their handmade products to become economically independent. Their dreams became a reality. The women manage multiple businesses in Kibera including a daycare, a sewing shop and a hair studio. Stay up to date with the Power Women by following their Facebook page.

LitWorld's early work with the Power Women informed our work with families and intergenerational groups. We know that the key to lasting outcomes is to create a community around literacy. This wraps children in a culture of reading and writing from the earliest age, setting them up for lifelong learning success. LitWorld's Founder, Pam Allyn, shares her insight on the critical importance of early education in this piece for Scholastic titled, "On early learning: By the dawn's early light."

Reading Aloud Unites the World

World Read Aloud Day 2014 arrived during a time of transition for the families of Ulingan community in Manila, Philippines. As they were facing relocation to a city outside of Manila, LitWorld programs continued to run. On World Read Aloud Day the children knew they could rely on their LitClub leaders and volunteers of our partner Project PEARLS to run a story-filled celebration. Parents and volunteers told us that read alouds brought comfort, joy and time for the children to just be children while soaking in the power of words.

We are always moved by the way each person who celebrates World Read Aloud Day internalizes the larger message of the day. This deeply personal piece by Ron Charles of The Washington Post about the sacred role the read aloud plays in his home is profoundly beautiful, enjoy.

P.S. Save the date for World Read Aloud Day 2015 on March 4th! Our next newsletter will be full of action steps and resources.