What We Gain from Literacy and How to Continue Learning

Why is International Literacy Day Important?

Have you ever wondered what the advantages of living in a literate society are? Literacy allows us to complete daily tasks without thinking twice, like shopping for groceries, opening you mail and checking the weather. Without literacy, we would not be able to read our favourite books, stream binge-worthy TV shows, read food labels, use social media, connect with loved ones, etc. For so many of us, it’s hard to imagine functioning in the world without the ability to read or write. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, better known as UNESCO, “773 million adults and young people lack basic literacy skills,” while “617 million children and adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics.” In 1965, UNESCO deemed September 8th International Literacy Day to celebrate literacy and raise awareness of the importance of literacy for individuals and communities alike. To simply put it, International Literacy Day is a day to celebrate and promote reading and learning of all kinds.

What is Literacy?

Literacy comes in many shapes and forms. Generally, literacy can be deemed as any knowledge which is crucial for active participation in today’s society. Literacy influences our daily tasks, from how we communicate to how we purchase life’s necessities and to how we work and learn. Examples of literacy include digital literacy, vernacular literacy, visual literacy, health literacy, emotional literacy, cultural literacy, information literacy, financial literacy, etc.

Why Do We Need Literacy?

With low literacy levels, regardless of the type, individuals miss out on the opportunity to develop necessary skills to become an active member of society and secure employment and stability for themselves and their loved ones. In a world that is rapidly moving towards virtual and remote learning, the demands for the type of literacy skills continue to change, leaving those with already low literacy skills even further behind.

Markham Public Library Is Here to Help

At Markham Public Library, every day is literacy day! We provide the opportunities to improve the literacy skills for all ages through our resources and programs. Not sure how to celebrate International Literacy Day? Let us help! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Check out our Events Calendar to find numerous virtual programs that fit your literacy needs
  • Explore our digital library to find eBooks and eAudiobooks and movies and TV shows that suit your interests
  • Learn a new skill or a new language with our Languages and Learning resources, including online courses and tutorials
  • Most importantly, remember to share your literacy skills with other. Next time a family members asks for help with setting up their electronic device, remember that literacy is a privilege and sharing the knowledge brings us closer to achieving a literate world

To learn more about International Literacy Day, visit: https://www.un.org/en/observances/literacy-day

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