22 June 2009

Truly Revolutionary Reading

A Facebook group called "Literacy Is Revolutionary" is recruiting people to read to a child on 25 July. Its pitch starts: "Did you know that World Literacy halved from 1970 to 2005? Let's do something about it!"

Actually, world illiteracy was cut almost in half over that period, according to UNESCO. And that happened even though literacy is defined by context; knowing how to read has become more important in more societies, so the literacy bar got raised.

I'm all for reading to kids. But this is not a good example of careful reading.

[ADDENDUM: Since this posting, the Facebook page has been changed to read: "Did you know that World Illiteracy halved from 1970 to 2005? Let's do something about it!" Which is more accurate, though normally we "do something about" a problem, not a good trend.]


Anonymous said...

Seriously? Do your research a little better. Isn't what you are saying the same thing? Yet you are what? Trying to get people to join your ownmovement. The point of that person's group on facebook is to get people to read to their children and nothing more. Get a clue and grow up!

J. L. Bell said...

Thanks to the anonymous commenter for demonstrating the danger of functional illiteracy.

To reiterate, cutting literacy in half is different from cutting the percentage of people who are illiterate. In fact, it's a move in the opposite direction.

Oz and Ends isn't a "movement." It's a way of life.