NEW YORK, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Hundreds of thousands of people of all ages from all 50 states and at least 40 countries will celebrate the power of words and stories during the annual World Read Aloud Day presented by LitWorld (litworld.org), the New York-based global literacy nonprofit organization, on Wednesday, March 9.
World Read Aloud Day is an international event that motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and stories, by encouraging them to participate in a global movement to advocate for every child's right to literacy, safe education, and access to books and technology. In honor of the event, LitWorld is inviting all participants to read with loved ones and new friends from now through March 9 and tally their minutes to reach the goal of 774 million minutes in honor of the 774 million people worldwide who cannot read.
In New York City alone, one million residents cannot read above an elementary level. To call attention to this alarming number, LitWorld will host a 24-hour Read-Aloud Marathon in Times Square on March 9, with support from the New York Daily News. Special guest readers at the event will include Chancellor of Schools Cathie Black, Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development Dennis M. Walcott, and many renowned authors and performers, including C. Alexander London, Adam Gidwitz, Jane O'Connor, and Jill Santopolo. A special LitWorld poem will be printed exclusively in the Daily News for New Yorkers to read together and help celebrate the power of the written word.
"Literacy is the human rights issue of our time," said Pam Allyn, Executive Director and Founder of LitWorld. "By learning to read, we all have access to information, the power of shared stories of the human experience, and a way to connect with one another. By raising our voices to express the written word, we come together on behalf of all the world's people who long to join the world of readers."
"We agree that reading is one of the most important fundamentals of life," said Kevin R. Convey, Editor in Chief of the New York Daily News. "We are honored to take part in this worldwide message by helping kick it off in one of the greatest and most diverse cities in the world."
Tens of thousands of diverse individuals in at least 40 countries will be joining in the World Read Aloud Day celebration, hosting events from poetry slams to international video chat readings in schools and community groups around the globe. Hundreds of organizations, including Jeffrey Sachs' Millennium Cities Initiative, The Daily News, FreeBalance, Ericsson, Scholastic, Dave Eggers' 826NYC, Broadway Housing Communities, and The Children's Village, are also participating.
"World Read Aloud Day has coalesced energy around the importance of reading for all via a vibrant network of supporters," said Allyn. "And anyone can take part in the action. Anyone can host a World Read Aloud Day community event, or simply take the time to read aloud to a friend in honor of this cause."
LitWorld has spread the word about World Read Aloud Day primarily through social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs, and encourages participants to link their posts to LitWorld's social media accounts and litworld.org, inviting everyone to consider the poignant question: What would you miss most if you could not read or write?
LitWorld is a 501C3 nonprofit organization led by Founder and Executive Director Pam Allyn. LitWorld's mission is to cultivate literacy leaders worldwide through transformational literacy experiences that build connection, understanding, resilience and strength. Founded on the three pillars of access, advocacy, and education, LitWorld works with teachers, parents, community members, and children to develop sustainable reading and writing practices to engage the world's most vulnerable communities in the redemptive power of story.