Promoted by the fantastic WorldLit organisation, the aim of the event was to celebrate reading and to raise awareness of the link between illiteracy and poverty. Through the wonder of modern technology (Skype) and thanks to the ingenuity of Angela Maiers of Maiers Education Services, I was able to contribute by reading to 4th, 5th and 6th Grade students in Douglas Road Elementary, Temperance, Michigan, Gottlieb Day School in Jacksonville Forida and Poughkeepsie Day School in New York City. But for the vagaries of the weather which gave the kids in Postville Iowa an extra ‘snow day’ off school they too would have had the dubious pleasure of a visit from ‘Pirate Bill’ and his introduction to one of my all-time favourite children’s books, Treasure Island.
“LitWorld’s mission is to cultivate literacy leaders worldwide through transformational literacy experiences that build connection, understanding, resilience and strength. We work with teachers, parents, community members, and children to support the development of literacy and the redemptive power of story in the world’s most vulnerable communities.”
LitWorld works with communities worldwide to identify and train local literacy leaders. LitWorld Girls Clubs are running across the world, including in the United States, Kenya, Ghana, and Iraq, and the Resilience Project, writing workshops for children who have experienced trauma, is being launched in 2011. One of their other goals is to create access to both print and digital materials to help all children learn to read and write. LitWorld connects with publishers, including Scholastic and Penguin, to send books to their target sites around the world. They are also developing “Seven Strengths” picture books, written and illustrated specifically for children who would not otherwise have access to children’s literature. These resources draw on their belief that literacy is not just a responsibility and a necessity but a value and a joy.