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In honor of World Book Night, which will take place on April 23, 2012, Luxury Reading reviewer Marcus Hammond prepared a statement on literacy.

Read on for his thoughts and for more information about participating in World Book Night.

by Marcus Hammond

We, as avid readers and book bloggers share a literary kinship with one another that is special and, at times, taken for granted. We read, interpret, write, and discuss literature from all over the world, covering all types of topics, and we do it with passion. We are literate.

There are a large number of people in the world who do not have the ability to read or write at a level that allows them to be successful in society. Groups like Proliteracy and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) estimate that there are approximately 793 million illiterate adults. These adults lack the ability to identify words and comprehend their meaning. Large portions of these adults are found in countries like India (1.22 billion people) and China (1.33 billion people), but the United States (311 million people) does not go unscathed. The United States maintains an illiteracy rate between 3% to 5% (depending on the survey year and study group). If the math is done that’s still approximately 9, 330,000 to 15,550,000 people between 2003 and 2011 whom are unable to reach their full potential.

Illiteracy in the United States and the world is created by the lack of opportunity to learn and be exposed to reading and writing and results in many outcomes including but not limited to, increased high school drop out rates, increased unemployment and welfare rates, and decreased ability to care for themselves (filling out insurance forms or reading prescriptions).

Literacy is a learned function in society. It is taught through early exposure to written language and maintained by continued instruction. Providing young and old people alike with the opportunity to read and discuss written language is important to our success as human beings. We are lucky to enjoy such a special relationship with literature, and it’s humbling to think about how vital the skills we so passionately employ everyday here and in our personal lives are to the overall success our society.
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World Book Night

The event will take place on April 23, 2012 across the U.S., UK and Ireland.

During World Book Night, 50,000 people, named as “book givers,” will each be giving away 20 books from a select list with a goal to have 1,000,000 people across the United States alone celebrating reading en masse. There will be adult books and young adult titles given away.

People can sign up here by February 1st to apply to be a “book giver.”

You can see the complete list of titles that includes books from authors like Jodi Picoult, Michael Connelly, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver and Junot Diaz, among others.

Visit the official World Book Night website to learn more.