Friday, September 8, 2023

International Literacy Day!

Today is International Literacy Day, with this year's theme being "Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies."

ILD2023 will be an opportunity to join efforts to accelerate progress towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) on education and lifelong learning and to reflect on the role of literacy in building more inclusive, peaceful, just, and sustainable societies. In doing so, it will embrace the reciprocal relations between literacy and other areas of development: Literacy is central to the creation of such societies, while progress in other areas of development contributes to generating interest and motivation of people to acquire, use, and further develop their literacy and numeracy skills.

My mother was a teacher for 37 years in the Chicago Public Schools. Her philosophy was that if a kid could read, he could learn just about anything. She taught fourth grade, and would make sure that, by the end of the year, as many kids in her class as possible were reading at a fourth-grade reading level or above.

When I was in college, Mom overhead me talking on the phone with a friend of mine. We had mentioned a friend of ours in the conversation, and when I got off the phone, she said that she thought she had taught the friend we were talking about, and asked me to ask him if he had been in her class.

The next time, I talked to him, I asked him if he had attended Mom's school. He smiled and said, "that is your mom!" He then told me a story about how, when he got into fourth grade, he couldn't read at an appropriate level, so Mom told him that he was to read a book a week and turn in a book report every Monday morning. He said that, by the end of the year, he could read at a higher grade level than fourth grade. By the way, he was graduating from the university that June and would be continuing on to medical school.

We take reading for granted sometimes. I've been able to read since I was about three, and so could my brothers. It's hard for me to envision anyone my age (67) not being able to read. Unfortuntely, adults not being able to read is more common than you would think. When we were in Chicago, Mary volunteered with an organization called Literacy Volunteers of America, now called ProLiteracy. She worked with several adults who had managed to graduate from school without being able to read. They weren't dyslexic (which is an entirely different issue), they just were passed along by the school system. They were doomed to work in unskilled, low-paying jobs as a result.

In today's world, the ability to read, write, and do simple math is essential for survival. UNESCO thinks that those abilities are fundamental to building sustainable and peaceful societies, and thus a sustainable and peaceful world, and I can't argue with that.

Take time to appreciate the gift that you have been given. Share it with your children and grandchildren, your nieces and nephews. Help them to enjoy the worlds that reading opens to them. If you have the time and inclination, volunteer to help a non-reading adult to learn this critical skill.

Happy International Literacy Day!

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Happy Book Lovers Day!

August 9th is Book Lovers Day, widely celebrated around the world (or at least on the Internet). Since a lot of our A to Z challenge participants are authors or book bloggers, we though it would be nice to acknowledge this cheerful and bookish day.



If you have a book that was born from an A to Z theme, please drop links in the comments!

To celebrate, I wanted to share my favorite reading challenge with you. There are a lot of amazing reading challenges out there - please share YOUR favorites in the comments!

The challenge I have been enjoying the most in the past years is run on a Hungarian book site ( by community members. It's called Polymath Training. Every January they announce 12 topics that participants have to read freely selected nonfiction books for. Topics range widely from astronomy to animation to church history to classical music. 11 topics are the same, the 12th is generated randomly for each participant (using Wiki articles). I have found amazing books through this challenge that I would have never found (or been interested in) otherwise, and I learned a whole lot of fascinating things about the world. Whenever I finish the list early, I usually generate some more topics for myself just for the heck of it. There really are no prizes or anything, just the adventure of discovery.

Whatever your genres and tastes are, I hope you have a great time reading today! :)

Monday, July 17, 2023

World Emoji Day

 Happy World Emoji!

Do you know why we celebrate World Emoji Day on July 17th?

It's because on the original calendar emoji, the date shown was July 17th! This is what I get when I search for a calendar emoji:

But the typical calendar emoji we can insert easily is more vague: πŸ“†

If I had to pick a favorite emoji, it would probably be 😈

In my youth, I spent a lot of time in chat rooms (I'm showing my middle-age) and we used emojis before they actually existed. >:-) was my favorite then, and that has continued into adult-hood. But now that we have the pineapple🍍, it might take the favorite slot for me now. My husband and I used it so much that he named me Pineapple in his phone and all of our rooms have pineapples everywhere!

What is your favorite emoji? Drop it in the comments!