February 2, 2022
On World Read Aloud Day, All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) is calling attention not only to bringing people together through the shared connection of reading but also the importance of increasing access to stories in languages children use and understand and promoting their use at home and at school. Reading together with a parent or caregiver not only increases children’s ability to read but also strengthens bonds with their families through the love of reading.
Research indicates the importance of having children read at least 20 minutes per day either alone or with a parent or caregiver. Having access to engaging stories in the languages children use and understand increases their vocabulary and readiness to learn in school. Making reading a part of family activities has a big impact on their willingness and desire to continue learning, creating a new generation of readers for life.
But millions of children have few to no books in languages for their parents or teachers to read to or with them, especially in underserved languages, which limits their access to literacy and quality education. For children with disabilities, the shortage of books is even more severe, as resources, if available at all, often lack accessible formats, like braille, audio accessibility or sign languages.
Providing accessible books in underserved languages is essential to reach the most marginalized children, especially those with disabilities, on their path to literacy, which is a proven factor in succeeding in education and escaping poverty.
ACR GCD is on a mission to ensure all children have access to books and learn how to read. This week, we invite you to be part of the solution to get all children reading by accessing and reading books with children in languages they use and understand–and you can begin with one of these free, online digital libraries:
- Asafeer’s library is an online collection of quality, cost-efficient, and trackable resources and books in Arabic.
- Bloom Library is a global collection of books created with Bloom software, which makes it easy to create simple books and translate them into multiple languages.
- Bookshare is an online library of accessible content for people with print disabilities, such as dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy and other reading barriers.
- Global Digital Library is a free, web-based platform that makes high-quality early learning resources available in more than 90 languages, including sign languages.
- Let’s Read is Asia’s only free digital library for children with resources and books that explore important topics and can be downloaded and printed for offline use.
- World Around You is a collection of sign language storybooks created through open source software that enables communities to create and share digital books and literacy content in local and national sign languages.
Explore more digital libraries by accessing our online collection. If you are a writer or publisher, we also encourage you to explore a variety of open source and free tools to help you write, translate and publish accessible books for children, such as those mentioned above or eKitabu’s Accessible EPUB Toolkit, which can help you create books with image accessible navigation, dyslexic fonts and optional sign language videos. You can access more solutions and tools in the solutions hub of our website.
Be part of the solution to not only get all children reading but growing in the joy of reading, too!