Although literacy rates have improved dramatically over the past century, around 17% of the world's population continues to be illiterate. It's a difficult thing to truly gauge, but there are millions of people in Britain who are classed as functionally illiterate, which can present huge barriers in their lives.
Why Volunteer With A Literacy Charity?
Problems with literacy lead to difficulties in communication and being able to understand the world around us. It's estimated that almost nine million adults across the UK have poor literacy skills. That translates to over one in seven of the entire population, so there are many who can benefit from the help of a literacy trust.
If you want to make a difference and spend time helping others, volunteering with a national literacy trust is a great idea. You can see exactly where your efforts are targeted, and get involved in roles that have real influence. You may also find yourself enjoying the experience, and picking up some new skills along the way.
How To Help Literacy Charities
VOLUNTEER WITH A BOOK AID CHARITY
Organisations such as Book Aid International exist to create a more balanced world where people in poor and developing countries still have the same access to opportunities as everywhere else. Literacy is a huge part of this, so why not volunteer with a charity that sends books to where they're needed most? Even if it's only a few hours a week helping to pack books in a warehouse, your time could be really valuable.
DONATE YOUR BOOKS
Different charities welcome different kinds of donations, but there's always going to be a home for any books you no longer have a use for. Rather than gathering dust on a shelf or in the loft, things like educational textbooks and children's books can make for really useful donations - the same goes for those novels you're never likely to read again. Some charities only accept new books, so if you work in the publishing trade, you could strike up a partnership with a literacy charity to find a home for books going to waste.
GET YOUR WORK INVOLVED
You don't have to be in the book trade to help. Whether you have your own business, or you can talk to your employer about setting up a link with a literacy charity, increased literacy rates are only going to be better for business and the economy. A corporate partnership with a literacy trust could include everything from skill-based volunteering in schools, to raising awareness with clients, suppliers and customers.
GO TO A BOOK FESTIVAL
Events like the Edinburgh International Book Festival aim to inspire people of all ages to read. Just by purchasing a ticket for a festival like this, you can contribute to programmes that reach out to lots of children and schools.
PROMOTE SHARED READING
Whether it's setting up a reading group in a care home or on a hospital ward, charities such as The Reader promote shared reading as a way to discover and share the joys of the written word. Spreading the word can help others to get involved, as well as donating your own time to a reading group.
Where To Get Started
People's Postcode Lottery players support some fantastic charities, aimed at improving literacy in the UK and around the world, including:
Our players have raised over £4.3 Million for these three charities so far. As well as getting involved with them directly, you can also help by signing up to play People's Postcode Lottery.