The National Book Foundation, Penguin Random House, Goodreads, and Mashable would like to invite you all to read. It’s as simple as that. This Saturday, January 24th, 2015, at noon, people are encouraged to pick up a book (or two) and read for four hours.
The goal is not just to read, but to raise the literacy levels of the nation. Teachers, librarians, bookshop owners, and bloggers (like us!) are encouraged to spread the word and get people reading. You can do your part by sharing this information with friends, family, and coworkers over social media, but there’s also more you can do to help literacy levels in America.
There is also a fundraising aspect of this readathon. The National Book Foundation has formed a page over at FirstGiving.com to help raise money to:
…expand the audience for literature in America. Through programs like BookUp, our afterschool reading program; 5 Under 35, our annual award celebrating young writers; the Innovations in Reading Prize, which recognizes programs and individuals doing remarkable work in ther service of literature; and the National Book Awards, we strive to ensure Americans of all ages and backgrounds can attain and engage with literature in a meaningful way.
Groups like Goodreads have already raised $1,401, and that’s a good start. Remember folks: while readers of this blog are probably fluently literate, many people in America struggle with literacy. As the Penguin Random House blog points out:
You might take for granted how easy it is for you to read this sentence, but millions of Americans still struggle with basic literacy. 40% of American adults are either at or below basic reading proficiency, and 14% are fully illiterate. But the trouble doesn’t stop there. Each year, millions of Americans — especially our youth — are losing touch with the power and importance of reading books. As Malcolm X said, “People don’t realize how a whole life can be changed by one book.”
Don’t take reading for granted and don’t let our youth lose touch with the power of the written word. Participate, spread the word, donate, and encourage others to do the same. We know what we’ll be doing this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.: reading. Won’t you join us?