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Editorial: Literacy lessons

International Literacy Day takes place on Thursday, September 8

International Literacy Day (September 8) ties in nicely this week with the start of another school year.

Organized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), this year’s theme is Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces, and will be an opportunity to “rethink the fundamental importance of literacy learning spaces to build resilience and ensure quality, equitable and inclusive education for all.”

Students eventually become workers, and with computers becoming more sophisticated on a seemingly daily basis, those machines, in one form or another, are making some lower skill jobs obsolete.

To be successful professionally, the importance of being able to read cannot be overstated. Literacy, literally, can determine future earning potential as prospective employees enter the job market.

But, just as important, being able to indulge in a novel, letting its writer guide the reader into another world, provides an escape like no other, where a described world has to be imagined rather than depicted on a screen, which leaves no room for the mind to create its own visual space.

The internet makes literacy even more of an uphill battle than the television did. Both have largely taken over the role of storytelling previously only found in books. People young and old are attached to their mobile phones and constantly connected to an onslaught of information, some good, some bad.

Parents have a responsibility to separate youngsters from electronic devices and encourage reading, the old fashioned way, by turning the pages of a book.

According to UNESCO, literacy challenges persist with 771 million illiterate people around the world.

Be a good example. What are you going to read this week?

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