Mind Your Language - A Note On the UN's International Literacy Day 2019

As the foundation for so many other aspects of education, literacy is one of the most important skills that we can develop. It isn’t just a case of reading fiction – we need literacy to understand instructions, read ingredients in recipes and on grocery packaging, to apply for jobs, and make sure that any medication we take is appropriate. Around the world, as educational opportunities have improved in many countries, the literacy rate has also gone up.

In the UK, literacy is measured differently in each of the Home Nations, so a total figure is not available. In England, around 16.4% of the adult population struggles with literacy; in Scotland, it’s just under 27%; in Wales it’s 12%; and in Northern Ireland, it’s just under 18%. Literacy rates are an early target for Early Years Foundation Stage educators: literacy is first tested formally for every child who is five years old or over at the start of the new school year.  

Every year, to highlight the importance of this vital life still, International Literacy Day takes place on 8 September. The 2019 theme has Literacy and Multilingualism as its focus – which is exactly what we’re about at Mantra Lingua. Our bilingual books, some of which retell familiar tales, some of which retell familiar tales with a twist, and some of which are completely original, are available in dozens of languages. The fact that the books are bilingual means the stories are at once familiar and accessible as well as new and exciting. We have folk tales from many countries, accounts of major cultural festivals, and accounts of ordinary everyday events like going to the dentist or the park.

2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and when it comes to language, the aim is to celebrate, embrace and preserve the fascinating languages we have around the world. As well as our range of bilingual books, we have our ever-popular innovative PENpal, and other innovative resources like the Kamishibai storytelling cards and theatre.

So, whatever language you’re looking for, we have something for you.

Further Reading