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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Celebrating 49 years of literacy

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While the U.S Department of Education and other local associations push the activity of reading heavily in the community, Sept. 8 is a day dedicated to literacy and has been since 1965.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNSECO) created International Literacy Day to put an emphasis on reading around the world. Today the literacy day is being celebrated in places such as Cambodia, New Zealand, Sudan and Indianapolis.

The UNESCO believes “Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depend on literacy.”

According to Indy Reads, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing adult and family literacy in Central Indiana, about 100,000 adults in Marion County read at the lowest level of literacy. The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 defines literacy as “an individual’s ability to read, write, speak English, and compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in society.”

This year, Indy Reads has created a literacy campaign on social media using the hashtag #LiteracySelfie.

“We are doing a Twitter campaign where we are asking them to take photos of themselves and let other people know what they are reading,” said Alyssa Newerth, director of advancement at Indy Reads. “We’ve launched a regional campaign and other cities are participating as well.”

Newerth suggests the community spend the day reading, whether it is in the library, a bookstore or reading to and with children.

Indy Reads works primarily with adults to help improve reading and writing skills. Volunteers are matched with those who would like help to provide one-on-one mentoring support.

“Many people think our bookstore is just for our students, but its open to all,” she said. “We have contemporary books, magazines and all of our children’s books for $1.”

Jon Barnes, communication specialist at the Indianapolis Public Library said the library has planned activities throughout the day in celebration of literacy.

“Everyday is literacy day here at the library,” he said.

Reading events and group activities can be found at the Irvington, Flanner House, Wayne and 38th Street library branches. Following are the list of activities:

Author Spotlight at East 38th Street: Dr. Mattie L. Solomon

East 38th Street Branch (East)

6:00 pm – 7:30 p.m.

Adults are invited to meet local author Dr. Mattie L. Solomon who will discuss her book, “What Did Your Parents Do for You?” The book contains different views on raising children.

First Monday Book Club

Wayne Branch (West)

6:30 p.m.

Adults are invited to this monthly book discussion program.

The book to be discussed is “Mirage” by Clive Cussler.

Flanner House Book Discussion

Flanner House Branch (North)

6:30 p.m.

Adults are invited to this monthly book discussion program.

The book to be discussed is “Grandmothers Incorporated” by Crystal Rhodes and Barnett Evans. Both authors will attend this discussion program.

Family Sing-Along at Irvington

Irvington Branch (South)

6:30 p.m.

Families are invited for a sing-along of old folk and traditional songs.

For more information on literacy, visit Indyreads.com or your local Indianapolis Public Library.

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