11 Organizations That Promote Literacy
by Sadie Trombetta

Summer is generally seen as the season of rest, relaxation, and vacation, but for these organizations that promote literacy, there's no such thing as out of office. They devote every day to helping children and adults all over the world learn and love reading, so why not use one of your summer RTO or a portion of your vacation fund to lend a helping hand? Global education is a cause worth fighting for, no matter what the season.

According to research by UNICEF, literacy rates have shown a positive trend in recent years, and most of that progress is due to the increase in educational opportunities and literacy programs around the world. But despite the positive results of recent efforts, there are still 115 million youth, age 15 to 24, that remain illiterate and unable to access education. Literacy rates still remain the lowest in underdeveloped countries, and around the globe, females continue to account for a majority of the total illiterate youth population. Even here in the United States, 43% of adults are functionally illiterate.

Clearly, there is still a lot of work to be done on behalf of the global fight for literacy and equal education for all.

Are you ready to pitch in some time or dish out some donations? Here are 11 incredible organizations that promote literacy and education all over the world that you can get involved in right now.


Room to Read

Room to Read is a global organization devoted to promoting literacy and girl's education. According to their website, their ambitious goal is to "invest in the lives of at least 15 million children by 2020." Each year, the outstanding organization gets a little bit closer by providing nearly one million kids with outstanding educational programs and essential learning materials they need to succeed. Help Room to Read accomplish their dreams and change the lines of millions of children by donating, fundraising, or joining a local chapter and attending a local event near you.


Reading Is Fundamental

Reading Is Fundamental has recognized a national literacy crisis in America which it is committed to creating a more literate country. They work hand-in-hand with book publishers, distributors, schools, community centers, health clinics, migrant camps, and homeless shelters to provide kids in need with books and other important reading resources they couldn't otherwise have access too. If you're interested in helping them meet their goal of a completely literate America, you can donate online, by mail, or by phone.


National Center for Families Learning

Like Reading Is Fundamental, the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) recognizes that reading and education is a family activity. That is why their organization is dedicated to engaging not just children but entire families in creating learning programs that raise literacy levels for everyone. According to their website, they have been successful in helping over two million families across the United States. You can find out how to donate or volunteer online.


Book Aid International

The organization behind World Book Day, Book Aid International is a global charity based in the U.K. that provides one million brand new books to over 3,000 libraries every year. Most of their efforts are focused in Africa, but they also have a small but important project in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Help them send books everywhere, from city slums to stateside prisons, by donating or volunteering on behalf of global literacy.


Literacy for Incarcerated Teens

There are dozens of organizations who strive to grant prisoners with access to books and education material, but Literacy for Incarcerated Teens focuses on one very important population: youth. Based in New York, it aims to end illiteracy in incarcerated teens by creating engaging libraries in NYC's juvenile prisons that will inspire teens to love reading. You can help this criminally underserved group by donating to this one of a kind non-profit online.


Everybody Wins!

Everybody Wins! uses a unique shared reading experience approach to inspire children to love reading. It pairs one adult mentor with one child for a Power Lunch, the organization's signature program that gets adults and kids reading together. Since its founding in 1995, Everybody Wins! has supported over 60,000 children and donated nearly 200,000 books to students in need. If you have one hour once a week, you can apply to become a mentor, or find out how to donate books and money online.


Read Ahead

Formally the New York chapter of the Everybody Wins! program, Read Ahead is another inspiring mentoring program that encourages children to enjoy reading by making it a fun and shared activity. They are currently serving over 1,000 students with the help of 1,200 mentors across 16 different schools. If you're in the Big Apple, find out if your employer is a Read Ahead partner organization and apply to join the Page Turners mentor program.


World Literacy Foundation

An organization founded to combat the 20% global illiteracy rate, World Literacy Foundation uses research and advocacy to improve literacy in communities around the world. Current projects include eradicating illiteracy across 25 countries, including Australia, the U.S., and others in Africa and Latin America. You can help fight the good fight by volunteering or donating to one of three charities: North America, United Kingdom and Europe, or World Literacy Foundation.


Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy

Former First Lady Barbara Bush founded her Foundation for Family Literacy over 25 years ago as a non-profit meant to empower families through reading and literacy. The organization provides children and adults across the country with quality literacy programs, mentoring programs, scholarships, and more. You can advocate on behalf of literacy with the Barbara Bush Foundation by getting involved in your local community, or donating money to support the organization's vital programs.


Milk and Bookies

Milk and Bookies is an inspiring non-profit organization that not only promotes literacy and reading, but teaches children about the importance of community work and giving. In addition to an empowering Leaders + Readers program for student volunteers in the Los Angeles area, Milk and Bookies host "book-raisers" that encourage kids to pick, inscribe, and donate books to other children who can't afford them. You can donate or get involved by hosting your very own book drive in your community.


First Book

First Book is a socially empowering non-profit that gets books, learning materials, and essential educational tools into the hands of children in need. Founded in 1992, it has provided over 160 million books and other resources to low-income families all around the country. You can join the cause and help children learn, regardless of their family's economic conditions, by donating, fundraising, or getting books.