CROWLEY – In the fast-paced society of today’s world, it is extremely disturbing to find that one in five adults are not literate. Two-thirds of this population are women, while 75 million children do not regularly attend school, and many more drop out.
Since the foundation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1946, it has been at the forefront of global literacy efforts that are dedicated to keeping literacy high on national, regional and international agendas. On November 17, 1965, September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO.
The aim of this day is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. The celebration’s theme between the year 2007 and 2008 was “Literacy and Health,” which focused on communicable diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, some of the world’s most important public health concerns.
According to researchers Hart and Risley findings in the United States, professional families children hear an average of 2,153 words per hour, in working families 1,251 words per hour, and in welfare families, only 616 words per hour are heard. Their findings state that the relationship between illiteracy and poverty is undeniable.
Also, in recent facts released by the U.S. Census Bureau, workers 18 and over with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $51,206 per year, while those with only a high school diploma earn $27,915, and those without a high school diploma earn an average of $18,734.
Literacy skills include so much more than just reading and writing, but rather include the skills and knowledge that we may use in our everyday lives to help us better understand the world we live in and to communicate clearly with one another.
Acadia Parish librarians Bernie Sarver and Sandra Henry, believe in the importance of literacy.
“We have many programs offered at no cost to the public through which we try to promote interest in reading,” stated Henry.
This year, Sarver will hold a special weekly story hour at the Acadia Parish Library in Crowley which will be attended by students of Crowley Kindergarten.
“Our summer reading program, which we have offered each year for children, has been very successful,” added Sarver. “As well as our Christmas Around the World program that we have during the month of December.”
This October, Dr. Richard Bier will present a book/movie series, which is aimed to peak the interest of adults and to encourage them to read. During this series, to be held in October, the movie and the book will be discussed. All are invited to attend.
The Acadia Parish School Board in February of 2004, instituted a School Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) system, which was designed to reinforce positive behavior in order to correct discipline problems. Among listed interesting concepts of SWPBS is that “without literacy improvement in place, no improvements will occur in overall behavior.” This statement holds true and has become a major part of the education system in Acadia Parish.