National March Into Literacy Month – March 2023

More than just about reading and writing, literacy should be fun, and this is why National March Into Literacy Month, held in March, is important. Good reading and writing skills are essential for everyone, not only children. Consider for a moment how much easier it is to use signs, labels, and even your phone because you’re able to read and understand text such as the article you’re reading now. Discover mind-boggling facts about literacy, how to promote it and why everyone needs to have these skills in the modern world.

History of National March Into Literacy Month

In early colonial U.S. history, parents were primarily responsible for teaching their children to read for the sole purpose of reading the “Bible.” However, the Massachusetts law of 1642 and the Connecticut law of 1650 mandated that everyone learn to read, including servants and apprentices. These laws set the ball rolling for establishing many nursery schools, preschools, and kindergartens to formalize education during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, more federal acts and models emerged to ensure that literacy skills and education were a priority. From the 2000s, immigrants increased in cities, and most of their children spoke languages other than English, which put them at a disadvantage. This development made literacy the focus of educational reform in Elementary schools.

Entry-level workers in the American job market require more advanced skills and knowledge in the 21st century, making literacy particularly important in adulthood. In the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, young adults without a post-secondary education found it challenging to find career opportunities. Analysis shows that individuals without higher education have low and below-basic literacy rates; therefore, the focus of American leaders and policymakers is not just on improving mass literacy at the elementary stages of education but also on sustaining it.

In 2019, the National Center for Educational Statistics reported that 4.1% of U.S. adults had literacy abilities below level 1. This indicates that they are “unable to successfully determine the meaning of sentences, read relatively short texts to locate a single piece of information, or complete simple forms”, and can be classified as “functionally illiterate.”

National March Into Literacy Month timeline

1642
Everyone Deserves to Read

A Massachusetts law mandates everyone to earn by reading, including servants and apprentices.

2000
Immigrants in the Cities

Immigrants increase in cities and most of their children speak languages other than English, which causes them to lag behind their peers in reading.

2005
Adult Literacy and Life Skills Decrease

The United States emerges as the third-highest country with the lowest skill literacy level in the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL) among six other states.

2005 — 2009
Annual Studies

The President of Central Connecticut State University, Jack Miller, conducts annual studies to determine America's most literate cities.

National March Into Literacy Month FAQs

Why is March National Reading Month?

In honor of Dr. Seuss, a well-known children’s author, whose birthday is in the same month.

Is April National Reading Month?

April is usually not a national month for reading, however, every month is a perfect opportunity to dive into reading all your favorite genres and improve your literacy skills.

Is there a National Library Month?

National Library Lover’s Month in February is dedicated to the people who love whole buildings devoted to reading, housing, organizing, categorizing, finding, studying, and otherwise loving books.

How to Observe National March Into Literacy Month

  1. Pick up a journal and write

    Good reading and writing skills go hand in hand. It's a good idea to encourage children to begin writing as early as possible, and journaling is a great start. Improve your reading and writing by journaling your thoughts and feelings to become more articulate and adept at writing.

  2. Read to your children

    Start reading to your children from infancy. As they grow older, encourage them to be a part of the story, and when they start learning to read, you will have instilled a habit they won't easily give up. Support your child’s early reading skills. Make an effort to keep reading a priority in your home by making it a family activity that is fun, engaging, and something you can do together. Helping your child learn to love reading is a wonderful gift.

  3. Play word games

    Literacy should be fun. Whether on a computer screen or physically with game boards, make learning fun by introducing games that help your children enjoy learning.

5 Important Facts About Literacy

  1. A tool to navigate daily life

    More than just academic success, think about how easy it is to use signs, labels, and even your phone because of literacy.

  2. It enables social engagement

    Being able to read and write means being able to keep up with current events, communicate effectively, and understand the issues that are shaping our world.

  3. Digital literacy

    The European Literacy Policy Network defined literacy as "the ability to read and write ... in all media (print or electronic), including digital literacy."

  4. Literacy and gender inequality

    Female illiteracy relates to other aspects of gender inequality in that it limits employment opportunities and worsens women’s positions in a household when it comes to decision-making and bargaining.

  5. Literacy and schooling

    Students who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school.

Why National March Into Literacy Month is Important

  1. Literacy is key to all education

    Developing early literacy skills makes it easier for children to read. For a student with poor literacy skills, learning across all subjects is much more difficult. Reading is such an essential part of schooling that educators use the month of March to promote and develop these important skills. Students have found their test-taking skills improve as their literacy skills increase.

  2. An outlet to improve learning experience

    Reading can be a wonderful outlet for students, particularly those going through difficult personal situations. Literature allows students to retreat from reality and transport themselves to a fantasy world. Teens can find books that discuss similar issues they are facing. Many find them to be sources of strength and encouragement.

  3. To raise children with sound literacy skills

    Learning to read begins long before a child enters school. Appreciation begins when parents read to their children, buy children's books, and encourage reading. Research shows that parents who are unskilled readers don’t read as often to their children as parents who are strong readers. The children {of low-literacy parents} enter school less prepared to learn to read than other children.

National March Into Literacy Month dates

YearDateDay
2022March 1Tuesday
2023March 1Wednesday
2024March 1Friday
2025March 1Saturday
2026March 1Sunday
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