When is National Family Literacy Day in November?

When is National Literacy Day? 

National Family Literacy Day is celebrated across the United States of America on 1st November annually. 

Across the country, schools, libraries, and other literacy centers hold various events, such as read-a-thons and book drives, throughout November to promote the day. These events will usually have appearances from celebrities and other prominent members of society.

national literacy day

What is the Observance About?

The purpose of National Literacy Day is to get the family to read together to improve reading comprehension and vocabulary skills among children. The day is for family literacy; parents and caregivers are encouraged to read to their children and take part in reading activities in the community. 

Libraries, schools, and bookstores organize activities and encourage the participation of the community, especially parents and caregivers. Some of the virtual activities include interactive online workshops and activity guides.

The History of National Family Literacy Day

In 1994, the U.S Congress passed Joint Resolution 413, which enacted National Family Literacy Day. The resolution was a response to the statistics that indicated that up to 27 million adults lacked basic math, reading, and writing skills for complex jobs.

The national day, November 1, is a great day to remember how far America has improved literacy levels and the importance of continuing to observe the day.

Family literacy is essential as it helps children in early childhood education and improves parenting.

How to Celebrate This Observance

Reading is a fundamental part of education, and National Family Literacy Day is supposed to emphasize the importance of basic literacy, and there are many ways to observe the day. 

Here are some activities you can do at home or participate in your community.

  • Parents can write gratitude notes or interesting things about their lives and experiences and ask the children to read the notes out loud. If the children are old enough, they can also participate and write their letters to realize the joys of reading and writing. 
  • Play word games such as scrabble to increase vocabulary and learn new words.
  • Join your community in observing the day by participating in organized events.
  • Take the children to the library and get a library card to highlight the importance and impact of the ability to read.
  • Share on social media using the hashtag #NationalFamilyLiteracyDay and highlight the importance of reading and writing.
  • Start a reading time if it is not already a tradition in your home. Create different themes to make it exciting and interesting. 
  • Find and introduce new books and genres to children to excite and bring a new interest in reading. 
  • Create a reading nook where any family member can sit quietly and read. 
  • Make this day a family literacy event by inviting other family members and holding a word competition such as a spelling bee or trivia night. 
  • Observing the day has to go beyond one day; you can start a book club or a book exchange program for regular reading content. A book club is also great for socializing and meeting new people. 
  • Donate the books that are gathering dust on the shelf to a charity or a youth center—that way, the books are recycled and utilized instead of being discarded.
  • Replace technological gadgets with books. Make it interesting by creating fun accessories such as bookmarks.
  • Read books out loud and encourage the older siblings to read to the younger ones and explain the big words. For older children who can read fluently, spice it up by reading popcorn style, where each person reads a page or two and passes it on to the next person. 
  • Select a book made into a movie; read the book first and then schedule a family night to watch the film. 

A List of Must-Read Family Books

National Family Literacy Day is a day to promote literacy and reading, and this is a list of 16 books we believe every person must read at least once in their lifetime. 

  1. A Farewell To Arms By Ernest Hemingway
  2. A Moveable Feast By Ernest Hemingway
  3. Animal Farm By George Orwell
  4. Lord Of The Flies By William Golding
  5. Moby Dick By Herman Melville
  6. No Country For Old Men By Cormac McCarthy
  7. Of Mice And Men By John Steinbeck
  8. On Writing By Stephen King
  9. Song Of Solomon By Toni Morrison
  10. The Color Purple By Alice Walker
  11. The Diary Of A Young Girl By Anne Frank
  12. The Grapes Of Wrath By John Steinbeck
  13. The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald
  14. The Lord Of The Rings By J.R.R Tolkien
  15. The Road By Cormac McCarthy
  16. To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee
Literacy Day

Interesting Facts About US Literature

Here are some interesting facts about US literature 

  • The United States has a literacy crisis. Statistics indicate that over 93 million adults do not have basic reading and writing, and mathematics skills above the third-grade level. 
  • Research shows a relationship between crime and literacy, as per statistics, that almost 85% of teenagers who appear in court to answer crime charges are illiterate. Data also shows that nearly 60% of prison inmates are functionally illiterate.
  • The top three cities with the most literacy in the United States are Minneapolis, Washington D.C., and Seattle.
  • The city with the most illiterate people in the United States is Long Beach, CA, followed by Mesa, Arizona, and Aurora, Colorado.
  • The influence of technology on literacy is increasing, as seen in how libraries are changing how materials are accessed and used. Print media, such as newspapers and magazines, is decreasing with most of the increasing online presence.
  • Small and independent bookstores are decreasing, and the release of books in digital formats such as e-books and audiobooks. 
  • There are an estimated 116,867 libraries across the US which include public, academic, school, special, armed forces, and government libraries.
  • The largest library in the US is the Library of Congress which is at Capital Hill in Washington D.C and holds over 39 million volumes of written words. 
  • National Reading Month honors Dr. Suess, a writer and illustrator of children’s books. His work includes the popular books “The Cat in the Hat” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Most people do not read as much these days, and the month of National Reading Month encourages people to read intentionally. 
  • One in every four children in America grows up without learning how to read and write.
  • The 26th President of America, President Theodore Roosevelt, was a bibliophile,  reading one book daily.
  • Students who cannot read proficiently by third grade are more likely to drop out of school. 
  • The most expensive book ever sold is the Codex Leicester which is one of Leonardo Di Vinci’s scientific journals. Bill  Gates purchased the book for $30.8 million.
  • Children who have someone read to them often are more likely to count to 20 or higher, write their names, and read or pretend to read. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found that only 53% of children ages 3 to 5 had a family member read to them. Children living below the poverty line were less likely to be read aloud every day.

Reasons to Love National Family Literacy Day

In the world of technology, people avoid reading and writing as they find it boring. National Family Literacy Day is a great day to encourage reading by setting new habits around reading and searching for knowledge in books. The day must be well spent and utilized to spread awareness about reading.

Here are some of the reasons why you should love this day and participate in or plan activities

  • Knowing how to read will improve knowledge and keep one well-informed on various issues.
  • Promotes creativity and imagination skills, which can result in creating new things and cultivating new ideas. 
  • Constant reading improves comprehension, vocabulary, and communication skills among children.
  • Reading will improve and expand attention span and listening tools.
  • Reading is an affordable activity that a family can do together. You do not have to buy books; you can borrow them from the library.
  • You can read from anywhere as you can easily carry a book. 
  • Reading in the family helps create core memories and helps improve communication between parents, caregivers, and children. 
  • Reading will stimulate the brain, keeping the mind sharp, young, and healthy.
  • Getting lost in a book has been known to reduce stress. 
  • People who read are more empathetic as books open a whole new world. Reading will help understand people from different circumstances, which can help improve how to relate to people. 
Family reading in library


Literacy levels in the US are in crisis, with an estimated 10 percent of the population not having the basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills. Illiteracy is detrimental to the country, and it costs the country’s economy, especially the health sector. 

National Family Literacy Day focuses on improving vocabulary and comprehension among both adults and children.

In the internet age, technology has taken over, leaving reading to take a backseat. It is essential to read as not only does it expand your knowledge, you can keep up to date with current affairs and handle day-to-day tasks that require basic literacy. 

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