What Can Writers Do to Support Literacy?


Reading is Fundamental. But what can writers do to support literacy?

When I was a kid growing up in the 1970s, I saw commercials like this one, public service announcements for Reading is Fundamental (R.I.F.).

Originally started in 1966 by Margaret McNamara, the wife of Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense under Kennedy and Johnson, RIF still provides 4.5 million children with 16 million new, free books and literacy resources each year. Reading Is Fundamental for America, yet millions of children are living in the U.S. without access to books.

According to a study conducted in late April 2013 by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read at all.

As I…

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