Whether it’s reading or writing, literacy is an outlet to an untouchable world – your imagination. Not only is literacy a basic human right, it is a fundamental building block for learning as well as a personal empowerment tool. It is the catalyst for social and global progress.

On September 8th, 2015, let’s show the world the importance of literacy by celebrating International Literacy Day. Help join communities around the globe to act as a united voice in raising awareness for those who cannot read or write.

International Literacy Day gives children and communities a chance to rediscover the joys of reading while raising awareness for those without access to education.


Need some ideas? Check out our list of classroom activities and fundraisers to help you choose the perfect way to celebrate International Literacy Day.

Book sale/exchange

Host a book sale or book exchange. Funds raised can be donated to building a library for children in developing nations. Find out how you can donate at


Host a friendly reading challenge to spark students’ interest. Encourage children to read as many books as possible in a week and have them track their progress. Their efforts can be sponsored by family and friends or by incentives created through local businesses and community members.

Writing Competitions

Pique children’s’ imaginations and develop literacy skills by hosting a writing competition based on a unique theme or idea. Provide a list of required vocabulary words to make it more challenging.

Host a Speaker

Invite a local role model or author to discuss the impact illiteracy has had on their lives. Have students dress-up as their favorite characters from their favorite book on the day of the event.

Open Mic Night

Invite the school community to an “Open Mic Night” – serve hot chocolate, coffees, and pastries to facilitate an opportunity for students and adults to share things they have written. Of course, lots of finger snapping after each reading is a must!

Click here for a full list of ideas

After registering for your favorite activity, our team will send you resources and information as International Literacy Day approaches to help you prepare for the event.


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We encourage you to send The World Literacy Foundation team photos and updates of your fundraising events so we can share them on our website and social media platforms. Awareness is powerful and we want the world to know the fun ways they can help spread the importance of illiteracy.

You can donate fundraising proceeds here:

For an electronic bank transfer, please contact

In Australia and Asia


PO Box 532, South Melbourne, VIC 3205, Australia

In UK and Europe


85 Markby road Winson Green West Midlands Birmingham B18 4PR

In North America


PO Box 44, Grandville, MI 49418, USA

In Colombia


Calle 103 # 35 A 13. Barrio La Enea. Manizales – Caldas Colombia


Approximately 775 million people- 64% of whom are women- are functionally illiterate. In other words, they lack the basic reading and writing skills to manage daily living and employment tasks.

In 1965, UNESCO declared September 8 as International Literacy Day. Since this proclamation, schools, organizations and communities around the world have united to promote awareness with the hope to one day eradicate this ongoing human rights violation.

Illiteracy Statistics


Information Sheet

Why does it matter?

The cost of illiteracy to the global economy is estimated at USD $1.19 trillion. The effects of illiteracy are very similar in both developing and developed nations. This means that the impact of illiteracy – limited opportunities for employment or income generation, higher chances of poor health, propensity towards crime or dependence on social welfare or charity (if available) – can be found wherever illiteracy is found.

Educating girls and women, in particular, has unmatched transformative power. It is estimated that if all women completed primary education, there would be 66% fewer maternal deaths.


Nothing! We only ask that schools and organizations register with our website so we can send a few communications before the big day. These emails will include:

  • A Promotional Poster
  • A Sponsorship form
  • An Outstanding Achievement Certificate for the highest fundraising student
  • Templates for school newsletters and media releases
  • Reminders and more information about how you can make International Literacy Day activity successful within your own community

Some of the items mailed will vary depending on which activity is chosen.

While we encourage schools and communities to donate fundraising proceeds to the World Literacy Foundation’s highlighted International Literacy Day Reading Project, hosting a fundraiser is not a requirement for participation in any of the activities.

There are various methods used to collect donations depending on which activity is chosen. One of the best ways to raise funds is by having family, friends, colleagues, and local businesses sponsor students using a sponsorship form (to be provided by us). Students can ask local community members to sponsor their involvement in a competition – such as a Read-a-thon or Writing Competition – or donate to support his or her participation in other activities, such as Character Dress-Up Day.

An event such as Open Mic Night can be sponsored through a local catering company or business, with funds collected from the purchase of coffees, cakes, and other edibles.

We encourage teachers and other “Literacy Champions” to send press releases to local newspapers and letters to parents notifying them about the event. We believe that championing literacy should be supported not just by schools, but by their communities as well. You can also use your school’s social media page (if applicable) to spread the word.

Again, fundraising isn’t a requirement for participation. We simply ask that you register online to stay updated with information and resources. Registering also gives you the opportunity to connect with hundreds of other schools around the globe that are determined to raise awareness for those without access to education.

It’s never too early to start planning. We hope that you keep us updated with your progress by sending us photos of your event. The most impacting activities will be posted to our social media so we can let the world know what incredible things are being done to raise literacy standards for children around the world.


North American World Literacy Foundation

PO Box 44
Grandville 49418 Michigan

EIN: 46-120110046-1201100

United Kingdom & Europe World Literacy Foundation

85 Markby Road
Winson Green West Midlands, Birmingham B18 4PR
United Kingdom

Charity No: 1154264
Company No:8475669

World Literacy Foundation (Australia)

PO Box 532 South Melbourne, Victoria 3205

ABN: 33 940 354 008
Incorporation Association:
A0055790R DGR 1 & PBI

International hotline & media enquires  +61 419 201 089

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