Today is CanWest's Raise a Reader day.
I've always been fond of supporting literacy efforts. Simply put, literacy plays a critical role in both personal development and and economic opportunity. Sept 8th is International Literacy Day, April 23rd is Canada Book Day, today is Raise a Reader Day. There are more great days advocating the importance of literacy and they are all important.
Indigo Books & Music, Inc, the company that I used to work for has endeavoured to support literacy with the "Love of Reading" foundation -- the funds are used to help support school libraries across Canada. They recently released this very poignant and touching video called Writing on the Wall outlining not just the importance of libraries and reading for students, but which illustrates the blatant lack of funding provided to those libraries.
Last year I worked with the good folks at the Hamilton Literacy Council, and with the help of some very generous donors, was able to raise a bit of money for their cause by auctioning off a character role in my online serial thriller I, Death. I ended up "killing" two very generous donors in the storyline because of these efforts -- I suppose you could say that I was willing to kill for such a good cause.
But you don't need to go that far. It's really a simple investment of your time to make a difference.
If you are a parent, try to take the time today (and every day if possible) and spend just a few minutes (at least 20 minutes is ideal) reading to or reading with your children. There are no shortages of wonderful books available for so many different ages. Sure, I work in a bookstore and am exposed to tons of great new books every day, but even so I still rely on the wonderful staff at the Hamilton Library to help me in selecting books to read to my three year old. If you check out your local library you're likely not only to find a great selection of wonderful books to discover, but will also likely find library personnel who are passionate, excited and eager to assist you in your efforts.
As Rosemary Wells (author of the Max & Ruby stories among others) says: "Read to your bunny, and your bunny will read to you). Helping your children discover the love of reading will open up exciting new worlds to them. Their imaginations will prosper, they will develop a whole new confidence about themselves, about their abilities and about their future.
So, read to your children, raise a reader, support literacy wherever you can and watch the world become a better place, one word at a time.