Global Literacy – Fighting the Dark Arts in Today’s World

Jun 26, 2008

Posted by: Doris


Most adults realize that reading is an integral part of our daily lives. Yes, we have to read. We can’t get jobs, order food, excel in school, or enjoy our favorite novels without the benefit of understanding the written word. For some of us, reading is a routine event that brings us joy and serves a purpose. But for many people, literacy is the snitch that even Harry Potter can not catch.

According to this International Reading Association 2007 study “The relationship of illiteracy
and poverty is undeniable.” Here are just a few facts culled from The International Reading Association.

The per capita income in countries with a literacy rate less than 55% averages about
Teaching mothers to read can lead to a decrease in infant mortality of up to 50%.
98% of all non-literates live in developing countries.
52% of all non-literates live in India and China.
Africa as a continent has a literacy rate of less than 60%.
In all developing countries, the percentage of children aged 6-11 not attending school
is 15%. In the least developed countries, it is 45%.

According to the International Reading Association’s President Linda Gambrell in an article in “A Prescription for Global Development”;

“we are on the front lines
assisting those who suffer
from hunger, disease, and the
loss of loved ones.”

You can read the entire article here.

There is a real need for a world wide reading initiative.

What can we do? The answer seems like it would have to be magic, but like our fictional hero Harry Potter, the only thing we need to solve this crisis is love.

In May of 2003, The UN sent out a press release. outlining the need for global literacy. One goal of the was to start an initiative to increase literacy rates by 50 percent by 2015.

I don’t have a wand, and I admit that divination is not my strong point, but I do know that to improve the life of so many people who are starving and in need of our help, we must reach out and educate them. While this seems like such an enormous task, it’s not so big if we all join together and do our part.

Simple things like volunteering to read at your local library, or purchasing books and donating them to your school’s libraries. Global literacy charities like Book Aid help distribute books to those who need them, or Reading is Fundamental (RIF) which is located in the United States help children in need locally.

The most important thing you can do is to start at home. Read to your children, or your siblings, daily. Establish reading as a habit, and follow that habit at home routinely. Children who are readers are leaders.

Magic will not solve the crisis of global illiteracy, only we can. Let’s start today and share the love of books with those who need it.

Thanks everyone,


The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.