Many schools across America just celebrated an important milestone: the 100th day of school, which means that winter is almost over (we hope) and we’re heading into March. It’s an exciting and inspiring time when we celebrate National March Into Literacy Month and turn an even brighter spotlight on the importance of literacy and the joy of reading.
While we all know how important literacy is in education, career and life, recent statistics continue to underscore how far we need to go as a nation:
- In low-income neighborhoods, there is only one book for every 300 children, which has a direct impact on academic success. Children who grow up with books in their homes reach a higher level of education than those who do not.
- Children from low-income families lack early interactions that lead to language development including being read to and access to books in the home. New data show that children from low-income families have one-fourth the vocabulary of children from wealthier homes.
- Thirty-four million adults function at below basic literacy levels, meaning they are unable to complete simple literacy tasks such as filling out a job application, filling out a deposit slip or reading a prescription label.
This year, to increase literacy among underserved communities in particular, we are re-teaming with the National Center for Families Learning, which has helped more than 1 million families make educational and economic progress through family literacy programs. We are partnering on a special social fundraising campaign, called “Spread the Word,” to benefit the nonprofit and the families it serves.
The call to action is simple: For each new Twitter follower we gain throughout the month of March (@mheducation), MHE will donate $1.00 to the NCFL (@NCFL). Using the hashtag #MHEmarchlit, we’ll be tweeting interesting statistics, relevant articles and even highlighting some of our very own reading programs such as Reading Wonders that ensure our students are strong readers, critical thinkers and ready for the increasingly competitive global economy.
So please join the cause and conversation!