September 20, 2018

Do more than just read for National Literacy Month


September is National Literacy Month. As a member of the Melville House team (and a former English teacher), I adore reading and standby literacy as a form of freedom.

Photo via Susan Yin/Unsplash

Of course you should put a dent in your reading list to celebrate this epic month. However, I think there’s something a little more we all could be doing. Instead of just finishing that novel I’ve bene putting off, or looking for more indie writers and bookshops to check out, it’s time to encourage more people to read.

So, what can you do? Here are five easy and maybe even life-changing ideas. A great book will take us places. A great literary community will take us even farther.

1. Support an indie author. Go to a reading, shout your book love from the rooftops on social media, write a book review, or recommend their book to a friend. And you know, buy a damn book.

2. Start a book club. By creating your own mini community, you get to read a new book, discover more authors, and bring people together. Who knows, you might just inspire someone to read more.

3. Volunteer. Donate some of your time. Spend some hours at a local library, a non-profit organization, or helping kids with their reading or essay skills. You’ll spark a conversation about something super important: literacy.

4. Host an event. Know a cool event space? Have a stellar backyard? Whip up a one-time (or maybe ongoing) reading series to bring more authors, books, and people together. Then, watch the magic unfold.

5. Buy books. Give them to other people. One of the biggest ways to champion reading is to put books in the hands of people. Are there folks in your community who might not be able to afford books? Start there. Give a teen a book. Offer to drive someone to library and get him or a her a card.

Stephanie Valente is the Digital Marketing Manager at Melville House.