September is National Literacy Month. I wanted to relate that, according to the National Center for Family Literacy, more than 30 million Americans have reading skills below basic literacy levels.
One more stat I can’t resist: A Pew research poll from Sept, 28, 2010 found that only 42 per cent of Americans know that Herman Melville is the author of Moby-Dick or, The Whale. The stat emerged as part of a survey of religious and general knowledge.1
To improve that state of affairs, here’s a cool website from MIT that suggests Moby-Dick be offered to young readers because they now typically appropriate information of all kinds from the Internet. Well, that’s what Melville did — appropriate from many sources — in amazing fashion in writing Moby-Dick, which makes it a sort of post-modern book, written in 1851! So the site suggests it may be the right time for web-literate young people to experience this great book. http://cms.mit.edu/news/features/2008/09/project_new_media_literacies_r.php
Generally speaking, one link worth exploring is from the American Library Association site detailing literacy month events and suggestions. http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/celebrationweeks
I also wanted to share my favorite image of literacy. This photo depicts Lynn Bartoszek, at the time a dedicated ESL teacher in Madison, reading for her three nieces, Katherine, Hillary and Sonya, at a holiday family gathering. All children should have an aunt, or a reading mentor, like Lynn.