International Literacy Association Creates Child's Rights To Read

New initiative focuses on equity and social justice.

The International Literacy Association (ILA) launched a new initiative aimed at ensuring that every child has access to the education, opportunities, and resources needed to read. Children’s Rights to Read—and its 10 fundamental rights—frames reading as an equity and social justice issue. In the yearlong campaign, ILA will focus on engaging educators, policymakers, and literacy partners to promote these rights and “see them realized for every child, everywhere.”

The ILA has created resources for educators to adopt the rights in schools and communities. These resources will be released throughout the year of the campaign. The explanation of the 10 Rights, why they are important, studies that relate to the topic, and more, can be found in The Case for Children’s Rights to Read .

“The ability to read truly represents the difference between inclusion in and exclusion from society,” Bernadette Dwyer, president of the Board of Directors of ILA, said in a press release. Dwyer is also the chair of the Children’s Rights to Read Task Force comprised of literacy educators, researchers, and advocates from five countries, which created the rights. “Teaching children to read opens up a world of possibilities, builds their capacity for creative and critical thinking, expands their knowledge base, and develops their ability to respond with empathy and compassion to others.”

The 10 Fundamental Rights of Children’s Rights to Read

1. Children have the basic human right to read.

2. Children have the right to access texts in print and digital formats.

3. Children have the right to choose what they read.

4. Children have the right to read texts that mirror their experiences and languages, provide windows into the lives of others, and open doors into our diverse world.

5. Children have the right to read for pleasure.

6. Children have the right to supportive reading environments with knowledgeable literacy partners.

7. Children have the right to extended time set aside for reading.

8. Children have the right to share what they learn through reading by collaborating with others locally and globally.

9. Children have the right to read as a springboard for other forms of communication, such as writing, speaking, and visually representing.

10. Children have the right to benefit from the financial and material resources of governments, agencies, and organizations that support reading and reading instruction.

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