Today was World Read Aloud Day. I celebrated by reading Where the Wild Things Are, three Little Bear Stories, a Frog and Toad story, a Ladybug Girl book, and Harry and Horsie with a three-year-old sitting charge who knew most of the above well enough to fill in details, and by listening to her six-year-old sister recite-read an Elephant and Piggie book and Good Night, Gorilla. (Yes, I think there's some literacy involved in navigating a near-wordless book.) I also silently read the so-far hilarious The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, a recipe for hamentaschen, and plenty of websites of varying value, wrote a passage for a freelance project, and used G-chat and text messaging. None of the above was unusual, nor would it have been for most of the people I know.
At least 793 million people in the world right now are illiterate. Seven hundred ninety-three million.
According to the World Read Aloud website, "World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people." It's hard for me to imagine that there's anyone anywhere for whom that right doesn't go without saying.
I'm not sure I have answers. But 793 million? That's not okay. No question.