September 8 is International Literacy Day: “The Future Starts with the Alphabet”

September 8 is International Literacy Day: “The Future Starts with the Alphabet”


Happy International Literacy Day! How are you celebrating today? United Nations will be celebrating international literacy today and tomorrow, with a theme of Literacy and Sustainable Societies. Today UNESCO is also commemorating the 50th anniversary of the World Congress of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy. UNESCO’s Director-General states:

New technologies, including mobile telephones, also offer fresh opportunities for literacy for all. We must invest more, and I appeal to all Members States and all our partners to redouble our efforts – political and financial – to ensure that literacy is fully recognized as one of the most powerful accelerators of sustainable development. The future starts with the alphabet. Visit UNESCO’s website for more details.

International Literacy Association notes, “International Literacy Day (ILD) shines a spotlight on global literacy needs.” The World Literacy Foundation has posted an illiteracy factsheet on its website, noting that 775 million adults worldwide are illiterate. Two-thirds of these illiterate adults are women. The National Coalition for Literacy has posted factsheets on adult literacy as well as factsheets based on PIAAC data.

In the USA, September 8 is also Literacy Day in Georgia, as proclaimed by the state’s Governor Deal. In New York, in honor of International Literacy Day, Pencils of Promise (PoP) is having the Empire State Building lit in yellow, like a giant pencil.

The National Coalition for Literacy encourages you to celebrate International Literacy Day. NCL is also preparing upcoming blogs for Adult Education and Family Literacy (AEFL) Week, September 21-26, and invites you to share how you will celebrate by e-mailing

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