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Reading is something that people in our modern society tend to take for granted, but it wasn’t all that long ago that reading wasn’t something that everyone could do. There was a time in history when almost noone could read, though by 1870 only 20% of Americans were illiterate.

That rate has continuously declined over the last 150 years, and in 1979 we were at a 0.6% rate for the entire US. While it’s an odd way to gauge success, illiteracy has declined to such a level that the biggest battles are for the 14% of Americans who exhibit a “Below Average” literacy level, and the 29% that have a “basic” reading level. What does that mean?

That means that we have successfully reduced illiteracy to the point that those who are poor readers are the biggest concern we face right now, as illiteracy is almost entirely unheard of. That’s a great thing, and Read A Book Day celebrates that success by encouraging us to continue the battle!

How to Battle Illiteracy with Read A Book Day

There are a ton of opportunities to help spread literacy and inspire a love of reading in people, and some of them start in the home. Reading to children is a great way to encourage them to grow up being avid lovers of the stories inside the pages of a book, and helps to fuel their imagination as well. As an adult, pick up an old favorite and relax in a chair or lying in bed reliving an old tale that once stole you away into a whole new world to live among the characters who live there.

Even better, pick up a new book, there’s a lot of new formats out there and lots of opportunities to get your head into new stories. Digital bookstores like Amazon and Kindle contain books both new and old in digital form, and a phone that weighs less than a paperback can now hold an entire library worth of books to transport everywhere you go.

If you’re a bibliophile (book lover) like us, you probably have a lot of books on your shelves that have perhaps gone unloved for a while. Donating them to a local library or school will help encourage students to read, and share those stories with the world at large. Speaking of libraries, a lot of them have opportunities for volunteers to come in and read to children and introduce them to the great stories held within.