With COVID-19 cutting our plans short, people have turned to stories as alternate methods of engaging with friends, discovering new places and growing as individuals. Not just through traditional printed books but through e-books and audiobooks, through webcomics and graphic novels.
However, there are over 773 million non-literate youth and adults around the globe whose access to learning and literacy programmes have been dealt a huge blow. A large number of people have unequal access to and/or a lack of proficiency in the digital technologies that can connect them to long-distance and online learning efforts that are being made. Geography, infrastructure, utility access and other factors out of their control have limited their choices and opportunities during the pandemic.
In light of all of this, this year’s theme for International Literacy Day is Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide. This interconnected world can be navigated in new ways through traditional and technological literacy, offering new inclusive and meaningful solutions to problems that seem to completely stop our way of life. It is extremely important to begin thinking about how we can reshape the way we engage with and associate print and digital spaces with each other. It starts by deciding to include literacy education in the road to recovery. Literacy has the power to empower, share experiences and open doors of opportunity in a person’s life.
In support of these efforts to narrow the digital divide through increased traditional and technological literacy, LitSoc will be holding a read-a-thon to raise funds for Story Factory.
What’s a read-a-thon? Think 'marathon' and then replace the crazy notion of running for hours with the much more appealing option of non-stop reading. Throw in the fact that you’ll get to read with your fellow bookworms and you’ve got an event you can’t refuse. Much better than that marathon, right?
The read-a-thon will be held over 24 hours (yes, you read that correctly) from 12pm on the 11th to 12pm on the 12th. You can join us for a couple of minutes, a couple of hours, or even the full 24 hours (like our crazy-dedicated Pres, Zara). Check out our timetable so you can choose the best time for you!
In line with the current stay-at-home orders and general common sense, we’ll be hosting the read-a-thon on our Discord server, so you can tune in from wherever you’re based.
Sign up on our shiny new fundraising page, and you’ll get your very own profile to share with friends and get sponsors. You can also pledge the number of hours and books you’ll be tackling during the read-a-thon on your profile. We’ll be reading a set amount of pages from The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George throughout the read-a-thon so that everyone can keep pace. That means you get to finish that TBR (that you really should have picked up ages ago) to fill in the gaps. Oh, and did I mention there’ll be games and prizes?
Story Factory is a not-for-profit organisation which focuses on running story-telling and creative writing programs for young people in under-resourced communities. Story Factory promotes art-based learning in order to improve social and emotional wellbeing and build confidence and creativity in youth aged between 7 and 17.
They do this through writing competitions and projects which allow young people to be published in an anthology by Story Factory and take home a printed copy of their work. They further partner with organisations such as the State Library of NSW and the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy to celebrate Indigenous stories.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, they have adapted to an at-home program by providing worksheets, activities and resources which promote creativity regardless of location or accessibility.
Story Factory primarily works through schools in order to deliver a range of programs suited to specific schools. This involves a series of activities and providing resources for students, parents and teachers. These programs can be one-off, term-long, year-long and curriculum-aligned in order to build relationships and trust with students and instil a widespread confidence among youth in their writing ability.
For more information, take a look at their website!