School of Education Blog

Ten Ways to Celebrate National Family Literacy Month

Mother, Father, children, and pets reading together on the couchNational Family Literacy Month is celebrated during the month of November. National Family Literacy Month is an opportunity for families to learn and read together. It also celebrates the work literacy programs do to empower families. Kristina Collins, co-director and clinical instructor of the Literacy Education program at Loyola University Maryland, shares her top ten ways families can celebrate National Family Literacy Month.

1. Visit your local library with your family.  In addition to books, find out about all the programming your library has to offer.  You'd be surprise that many offer classes, workshops, movie nights, reading groups, and more for all ages on a vast variety of topics. 

2.  Join and participate in a book club or start a book club.  Make it fun and get creative with your book club meeting by having activities or serve food related to the books your group is reading. 

3.  Try reading in a different format.  If you are use to printed books, try reading via audiobooks or digital books.  Many public libraries and universities have books that patrons can borrow digitally.  You can download audiobooks and digital books to any smart device such as a phone, tablet, or laptop for free. 

4.  Attend a book festival together.  Book festivals are held nationally and locally.  It's a wonderful opportunity to meet authors, explore a huge variety of genres, meet people, and share the joy of reading.  If there is not a festival happening in your area, talk to your local chamber of commerce to see how you can develop one in your community.

5.  Create a book exchange in your neighborhood.  Simply set up a small container (some folks have used large birdhouses or mailboxes) to house the books and protect them from the elements and a sign that reads, "Take a book, leave a book," for your neighbors to share books.

6.  Donate books.  Everyone has a least a few books that they have read and that are now lying on a shelf someplace in their home waiting for eager eyes to read them again.  Consider donating your gently used books to a local charity. Save the environment by also recycling damaged books rather than tossing them in the garbage.

7. Share the love and joy of reading.  Volunteer to read to patients in the hospital, to children in preschool, or to the elderly in a nursing facility.  It costs nothing to be kind and to share your time with those who could use your smile and an open book.  

8.  Write a note.  Writing is a major part of literacy.  Consider writing notes of appreciation, thanks, or love to the special people in your life.  The recipient of such note will appreciate the time and effort you took to hand-write it along with the sentiments you expressed.

9.  Discuss what you've read.  Whenever we experience something good, we talk about it.  Talk about the books that excite you to people around you at work, at home, on the train, or anywhere.  Share what was interesting, provocative, or amusing.  Your excitement will be contagious and cause your listener to want to read as well.  

10.  Read, read, and read some more.  Read about any and everything that interests you.  No matter what it may be, read for the enjoyment of reading.  If you are having a hard time deciding, try a curated book list like the 100 Books to Read Before You Die.