International Literacy Day

Woman peering over an open book in a classroom.

International Literacy Day, celebrated every September 8, was created in 1966 by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The aim of this day is to bring attention to the importance of literacy to the flourishing and well-being of individuals, communities, and societies worldwide. Over the past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted educational and philanthropic efforts to teach reading, which has hindered many worldwide in developing further skills which could contribute to the lives of their communities. The theme of International Literacy Day 2021 is: “Literacy for a human-centered recovery: Narrowing the digital divide.”

Approximately 775 million adults in the world today lack basic literacy. In California, only 76.9% of residents age 15 and older are literate. But the good news is that there are community resources where volunteers are matched with learners to help improve their literacy skills.

The programs listed below pair reading students with volunteer tutors. These are wonderful resources if you know someone who needs help learning to read, or if you are interested in volunteering.

In addition, SJPL has extensive resources to assist those teaching beginning readers. Please explore the resources and book list below for more information.

For Adult Learners

For Child Learners

The Reading Partners program, a national nonprofit organization with a presence in Silicon Valley, engages volunteers to help teach students at under-resourced schools to read at grade level by fourth grade.

Resources for Teaching Others to Read

Teach Anyone to Read, book cover
Helping Your Child to Read, book cover
Mommy, Teach Me to Read!, book cover
Literacy Play, book cover
Early Literacy Intervention Activities, book cover
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, book cover
Get Ready to Read, book cover
The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, book cover
Using Art to Teach Reading Comprehension Strategies, book cover
Fifty Ways to Teach Reading, book cover