The Wastelands of Literacy: Don’t Trash Those Books!

Literacy, Reading, Education, Writing, Self-Improvement

Image Credit: Linnaea Mallette

Throughout the month of September, a celebratory spotlight is put on literacy. September is Adult Literacy Month, Read A New Book Month, and Be Kind To Writers And Editors Month.

In this day and time, it is unfathomable to imagine that illiteracy still remains a serious and troubling topic of discussion. Literacy, the ability to read, write and the level of competency and knowledge in a specific area is a prized attribute in building a strong foundation of educational, cultural and creative heritage.

It is not popular to allow ignorance to become the accepted norm, although at times when we reflect on the current state of our society, sadly that seems to be the case. That does not mean, however, this educational quagmire cannot be fixed. We have every tool you can possibly imagine to thwart the dangers of ignorance when it runs amuck.

As Maya Angelou once told an audience of aspiring writers, “In order to be a good writer, you have to be a copious reader.” In our tech-savvy society, we can’t even allow ‘aliteracy’ to take root and contribute to the ills of illiteracy.



Word Attack: Mastering the Meaning of New Words

Word Attack, Words

Spilling out letters to form new words is what word attack distinguishes. Word attack, the aggregate of skills which aid an individual in utilizing any one technique or combination of techniques, will help in the recognition and master the meaning of new words as needed.

Word Attack

Sounding out letters
master phonics elements
to understand words.

© Kym Gordon Moore

When the use of dictionaries and Thesauruses increase the recognition, understanding, and awareness of words, this offers more room for decreasing illiteracy. This is the art of Word Attack!

Hey Library Lovers, this Month is for You!

Library Lover's Month, Library, Books, Research

While the Internet has given us faster access to our queries, do you still visit your local library? Throughout the month of February, we are observing Library Lover’s Month. This vintage poster made by the Illinois WPA Art Project Chicago highlights the source of the art of continued learning. “For greater knowledge on more subjects use your library often!”

Don’t forget about those great research institutions that are free to access and where we still find a bounty of books on every subject imaginable. Many of us still remain card-carrying members of our local library. Check out a public library near you!

Happy #LibraryLoversMonth

The Art Of Handwriting Cannot Die!

Handwriting, Writing, National Handwriting Day, From Behind the Pen

I still love the stroke of a pen or pencil dancing on the canvas of paper like an ice-skater dances in whirls and swirls atop a layer of ice. Handwriting, a calling card to one’s individuality and creativity, seems to be a vanishing art these days. As an advocate of penmanship, we cannot allow artificial intelligence to be a substitute for the foundation of our basic learning, skills-oriented educational programs. Writing, one of the functional skills of literacy represents language and emotion depicted through inscriptions of signs and symbols. It complements speech or spoken language.

Today, as we celebrate National Handwriting Day, let us be reminded of the variety and historical nuances of writing systems that express the creation of textual or written information for communication. Graphology, the analysis of the characteristics and patterns of handwriting identify many personality characteristics and psychological traits of an individual. While some skeptics may argue that graphology is simply pseudoscience, there is a seductive appeal to this study and practice of handwriting analytics.

Happy National Handwriting Day during National Handwriting Month!

What are You Reading during National Reading Month?

Reading, Literacy, National Reading Month

Image credit:

March celebrates National Reading Month. Reading is a complex cognitive process of decoding symbols in order to construct or derive meaning (reading comprehension). Reading is a means of language acquisition, of communication, and of sharing information and ideas. The field of visual word recognition studies how people read individual words. A key technique in studying how individuals read text is eye tracking.

Research findings outlined in a recent report of the National Early Literacy Panel, highlight the fact that literacy skills begin to develop at birth. Literacy is the ability to use the symbols of a writing system, interpret what the information symbols represent, and to be able to re-create those same symbols so that others can derive the same meaning. Illiteracy is not having the ability to derive meaning from the symbols used in a writing system. Dyslexia refers to a cognitive difficulty with reading and writing. It is defined as a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read.

Get some good reads into your daily schedule. For more information on reading programs, check out In the meantime, take your reading up a notch during National Reading Month!


Today is International Literacy Day

UNESCO, International Literacy Day, Fighting Global IlliteracyAs we celebrate International Literacy Day, during National Literacy Month, we were pleased to learn that Boston became the first city to designate an official literary cultural district in the United States. According to the guidelines of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), the cultural districts established within Massachusetts are defined as a “specific geographical area in a city or town that has a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets. It is a walkable, compact area that is easily identifiable to visitors and residents, and serves as a center of cultural, artistic, and economic activity.” The Literary Cultural District represents one of about two dozen other cultural districts.

Boston is home to many of America’s great writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry David Thoreau. This city is dubbed the “Athens of America” and the “Broadway for writers.”

International Literacy Day highlights the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. Each year, UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) reminds the international community of the status of global literacy and adult learning. On November 17, 1965, UNESCO proclaimed September 8th as International Literacy Day. Click here to learn more about UNESCO’s literacy and sustainable development. How can you help fight illiteracy in your community?

“Literacy is a key lever of change and a practical tool of empowerment on each of the three main pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social development and environmental protection.”
– Former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan

September is National Literacy Month

September is National Literacy Month, From Behind the Pen, National Literacy Month

Although March is National Get-Ready-to-Read Month, September rolls around with National Literacy Month. Reading is truly fundamental for continued literacy enhanced learning. Approximately 1 in 4 children in the United States grow up without learning how to read and 32 million adults in America can’t read.

Illiteracy is linked to poverty, crime, hunger, a burden on the health care system and dropping out of school. This month, join us in bringing awareness to illiteracy and making a difference to wipe out the ills that put a burden on literacy in our country! If we don’t bring an end to illiteracy, it will bring an end to us.