How to celebrate: International Literacy Day [VIDEO]

Turn your family into the readers you know they can be. Or, volunteer time in your community to help families develop a love of reading. These are just a few ideas for International Literacy Day.

Over 94 million children worldwide don’t have access to an education according to the International Reading Association. In an effort to bring attention to the importance of reading and writing, celebrate International Literacy Day.

Literacy is defined as the ability to read and write. Synonyms include: book learning, education and schooling.

This year International Literacy Day falls on Sunday, September 8th. The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization President Irina Bocava said, “Literacy is much more than an educational priority — it is the ultimate investment in the future and the first step towards all the new forms of literacy required in the twenty-first century. We wish to see a century where every child is able to read and to use this skill to gain autonomy (Independence and ability to be self sufficient).”

The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization invited you to take action and join the celebration. They suggest the following ideas:

  1. Donate books and reading materials to your local school or community center.

  2. Start a reading club.

  3. Volunteer to teach literacy classes in your community.

  4. Become a mentor of a non-literate person.

  5. Send your literacy stories to

For families we think a great place to start is at the library. Make sure your children all have library cards. A trip to the library can be great fun and free. Learn about all the ways your family benefits from the library. If you haven’t been lately, you might be interested to learn that many libraries have programs that allow you to:

  1. Search for books by computer.

  2. Download books you ‘borrow’ directly onto a computer or tablet.

  3. Checkout videos, audio books and other tools.

  4. Use computers and the internet at the library.

If you can’t make it to the library, but want new reading material for your children, try the International Children’s Digital Library where you can check out books in many languages and read them for free online.

Our local library has guest authors lectures, story time for children of all ages, newspapers and many local clubs meet there.

In today’s world being literate can take on many new dimensions. This literacy day you could:

  • Challenge yourself by reading a classic you haven’t tackled before like one of Shakespeare’s plays.

  • Try your hand at writing poetry or a short story.

  • Write a story for your children.

  • Chose a chapter book that you can read together as a family for entertainment, like Anne of Green Gablesor the Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingles Wilder. Read a chapter a day at bedtime as a new family tradition.

  • Go outside your home to volunteer in your community reading to children at school, assisting in classrooms or working with a local literacy program.

The International Reading Association chose the theme, “Invent your Future,” and invited students to be sure to let the International Reading Association know how they celebrated. They invited students and families to share pictures and videos to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (using the official hashtag #ILD13), or send them to On September 9th at 8 pm EST, you can, join @IRAToday for the #ILD13 Twitter chat.

This September 8th, give your family the adventure of a lifetime, learn to fly, go to the moon, explore a Mayan ruin and never leave your couch. Open a book and read with your family. Celebrate with the world on International Literacy Day.

Shannon Symonds & Erin Oscarson

Shannon and Erin are a mother and daughter with lots of children and Utah and Oregon roots.