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Read, learn, travel: International Literacy Day

September 7, 2010
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The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go

Dr. Seuss

Every time I’m doing something in the kitchen I stand in front of a wall and dream. This wall is nothing spectacular, ordinary except for one thing — a map. Spread across the entire wall is a world map that has not only names of places and countries, but mountains and rivers, off-shore islands, equatorial zones, oceans and seas. It is a map so concise with names that I learn something new each day. The more I know, the more driven I am to go places near and far. But I am one of the lucky ones because I can read.

September 8 is International Literacy Day, a day that celebrates literacy but also raises awareness of the rise of illiteracy among adults:30 million US adults cannot read, one millions adults in London are illiterate, six million in Mexico. Around 80 million adults worldwide cannot read, most are women.

The numbers are staggering, the opportunities lost for a better life are even more so.

I cannot imagine a world without words and books that let me explore and imagine whenever I choose. Stories that scare me, set me off on an adventures and take me into a murder mystery. And when I done with all of these I can find words that pose as questions and opinions to test my intellect and memory. If I hadn’t been given the chance to read, as a child, I wouldn’t have travelled, or understood the science behind photography, or combined ingredients to create a delicious meal. If I hadn’t learnt to read, I wouldn’t be here now doing what I love, seeking new challenges, figuring out place names in a world map.

It is time for me to stop squandering this gift and introduce Dr Seuss’s dream and books to someone.

by Cate

Caffeinated Traveller aka reader, learner, traveller

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11 Comments
  1. travelforaircraft permalink
    September 7, 2010 4:35 pm

    One cannot overemphasize the capability to read — once learned it takes no effort, its reflexive, and you can take someone’s thoughts or experience with you. Contribute or peruse Wikipedia — or blogs — especially papers.

    I’ve also learned that reading in other languages expands ones horizons, as well, though I need to learn other languages.

    Great point you’ve made and a insightful post 🙂

    • September 8, 2010 10:12 am

      Reading online is difficult for me, the glare and small font. I don’t think I’ll pick up a kindle type of gadget, ever. I love books, the look, feel and often the musty smell of them. I love them lining my shelves and I love being able to spend hours in a bookstore or library. I would hate to lose that part of literacy as technology progresses.

  2. September 8, 2010 6:00 am

    Our ancestor reminded us to travel 10,000 miles while reading 10,000 books.

    • September 8, 2010 10:09 am

      A great ancestor and very wise!

  3. September 9, 2010 10:01 am

    The illiteracy numbers always stun me. Good post, Cate.

    • September 14, 2010 2:05 pm

      Thank you Heather 🙂 I was stunned with the figures on London and the US. Staggering numbers.

  4. September 9, 2010 3:28 pm

    As a writer and teacher, I take illiteracy very personally. Even in a rich country like the U.S., there are far too many who are functionally illiterate. Great post.

    • September 14, 2010 2:04 pm

      I guess you must come a cross a few in your line of work. Wealthy countries really don’t have a good excuse for all this illiteracy at all.

  5. September 10, 2010 1:25 pm

    I LOVE that you have a map on your wall. 🙂 I want to do that too. Books are such a treasure to me too. Can’t imagine life without them.

    • September 14, 2010 2:04 pm

      Krista, I think you and I have many things in common and one day we may just meet up to exchange our interests!

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