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Young Man Reading Newspaper. Angelo Rizzuto, 1956

Reflecting on the 2022 Literacy Awards 5-Part Webinar Series

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This post is by Judy Lee and Celia Roskin of the Library of Congress.

Last month, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program wrapped up a five-part webinar series featuring the 2022 Literacy Awards winners and honorees. Each webinar highlighted various programmatic strengths demonstrated by the recognized organizations, including: nurturing partnerships, engaging local communities, promoting a culture of reading, and advancing adult literacy in the United States.

The series kicked off on December 15, 2022, with the first episode featuring the 2022 Literacy Awards Program Top Prize Winners. Joining us from across the world at 11pm in India, panelist Ramya Madhavan, Global Head of Advisory at Street Child (2022 David M. Rubenstein Prize winner), described how Street Child’s Marginalised No More Program is improving both literacy and social outcomes for some of the most marginalized girls in Nepal by bringing girls’ education to the forefront of government discussions. She explained that,

“…foundational literacy is life saving and life sustaining for these girls. Literacy has empowered them with employment and income earning opportunities …Most crucially, we’re seeing that literacy is a fundamental instrument to interrupt modern slavery and to meaningfully transform lives.”

Whether the discussion was about building partnerships with local governments or inspiring kids to enjoy reading, the panelists, signing on from across the country and around the world, articulated common sentiments about the importance of developing reading and writing skills for individuals, families, and communities. The panelists described their unique approaches to successful literacy programming, expressed support for one another, and inspired webinar participants to get involved in literacy efforts.

Unique to this year’s webinar series, representatives from past winner and honoree organizations, Room to Read, ConTextos, Reading is Fundamental, and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, took turns moderating the themed panel discussions.

The fifth and final webinar featured three of the 2022 Successful Practices Honorees who were recognized for their excellence in adult literacy programming in the U.S. When asked about how she would define literacy, Jennifer Peterson, Associate Director at Literacy Network, shared one of her adult student’s reflections on literacy. She quoted him as saying:

“Learning to read opened my eyes to the fact that there’s so much in this world that has to do with reading and writing. To be sixty years old and not know how to read is an awful thing, and I don’t want anybody to have to go through what I went through. Reading is a part of survival in America. So, to survive, you’ve got to know how to read, write, and comprehend what you read.

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program is proud to celebrate the 2022 winners and honorees, who help people of all ages around the world learn to read, write, make meaning, and break cycles.

To watch recordings from the 2022 Literacy Awards Winners and Honorees webinar series, visit the Literacy Awards Featured Videos page. To learn more about the 2022 Literacy Awards Winners and Honorees, view the 2022 Winners and Honorees video, as well as the 2022 Literacy Awards Story Map.

The 2023 Literacy Awards winners and honorees will be announced on September 8, 2023, International Literacy Day. For additional information about the Literacy Awards Program, please visit the Literacy Awards website.

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