As you know, one of Rotary International’s causes is to support education and literacy worldwide. Illiteracy is a global crisis with over 17% of the world’s adult population unable to read. For children, it’s estimated that two out of three cannot read at grade-level. California continues to score below the national average for grade-level reading and as of 2019, only 46% of Sacramento third-grade students were reading at grade-level.
The great news is that District 5180 has many successful literacy programs underway in our community, whether that’s through school partnerships, dictionary/book giveaways, reading buddy mentorships, or other creative programs. Now more than ever, the help and support of District 5180 clubs is needed in the fight for literacy.
Here are some tips from Basic Education & Literacy Rotarian Action Group and other Rotary Districts as you continue your literacy projects:
  1. Get creative and have fun! A few ways to support literacy in your community are volunteering as a reading tutor or mentor, creating a Little Free Library, or donating books to new parent programs. 
  2. Identify community leaders who can speak to direct literacy needs, like school principals, librarians, and educators.
  3. Partner with local organizations to collaborate on events or match donations, like education non-profits, family assistance programs, or after-school and summer youth programs.
  4. Use the calendar to your advantage. For example, March 2 is Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss’s Birthday), September 8 is International Literacy Day, the month of September is International Literacy Month, October is National Book Month, etc. Plan a special literacy event to celebrate achievements and raise awareness!
  5. Establish a Literacy Chair or Literacy Committee at your club to ensure focus and collaboration towards eliminating illiteracy in our communities. 
What Our District Is Up To…
Lincoln: As a thank-you to presenters, Lincoln club buys $1,000 worth of childrens’ books at the beginning of each year then give to each speaker to sign. The signed books are then donated to the local library. Lincoln has also started up Project Cornerstone, a reading program with Scott Leaman Elementary School.
Fair Oaks: Rotary Club of Fair Oaks and their sister club, Rotary Club of Kitwe, supported a school for the hearing impaired by providing them with 20 pounds of books and some extra money to use on things the students need.
More coming soon. Please share what YOUR club has done for literacy! 
Jenny Winstead is our District Literacy Chair. Click here to contact Jenny.