5 Things You Need to Know About the Power of Literacy

If it were up to us, the benefits of reading and writing would be mentioned and celebrated on every broadcast of morning and evening news: "It's 11 o'clock, have you read to your children today?" Here are 5 powerful facts about literacy.

1. Reading aloud is vital.

Research proves that reading aloud to children every day puts them almost a year ahead of children who do not receive daily read alouds and that is regardless of parents' income, academic or cultural background. On top of that, pediatricians are now prescribing read alouds alongside their nutrition and health advice in recognition of the proven benefits on brain development and vocabulary acquisition.

2. Literacy saves lives.

According to UNESCO, improvements in women’s education explained half of the reduction in child deaths in the past twenty years. Mothers who are educated are more likely to have their children vaccinated, and more likely to send them to school. Imagine what will happen when every child and adult can read, write and learn all they want and need to know.

3. Literacy teaches you to own and value your own story.

The Education for All Global Monitoring report states that there is a clear link between literacy and a positive self image. Building confidence as a reader, writer, listener and speaker is transformational in a person's life. These core abilities are used every minute of every day to read the world. More than that, reading stories gives a greater understanding of self. Suddenly there are characters who feel the same feelings as you, who share your struggles, your hopes and your dreams. Literacy brings us out of isolation and into a community of readers and writers.  

4. Literacy gets you to the goal.

Studies have shown that people who write down their goals are 80% more likely to achieve them. Having documentation of our goals and reading them back to ourselves on a regular basis keeps our motivation at the forefront of our minds and allows us to start to create action plans. This is productive literacy in action. Simply having the ability to write down what you want to do and where you want to go leads to an impressive head-start.

5. Literacy empowers.

The ability to seek out and understand information gives us all independence to make choices, to advocate for ourselves and to learn about our community and world. People who can read and write are powerful in society and studies show that literacy leads to greater self-reliance and civic engagement.