Every year on September 8th the United Nation’s celebrates International Literacy Day. It is a global observance, not a national holiday, to raise awareness around literacy. In a digital age where technology is so prevalent, I was surprised to read how many people still struggle with literacy and even more saddened by how many were women. According to UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), one in five adults are still not literate and two-thirds of them are women, making gender equality even harder to achieve.
- There are an estimated 122 million youth globally who are illiterate, of which young women represent 60.7 percent.
- The root cause of literacy is deficient or non-existent basic education and there are currently 67.4 million children who are out of school.
- There are 775 million adults lacking minimum literacy skills.
So as a blogger, how does this pertain to you?
How you can make your blog more reader friendly
- Install a plugin to make sure your blog is easy to read such as: FD Word Statistics. This plugin computes Gunning-Fog, Flesch, and Flesch-Kincaid readability indexes about posts as they are edited for the purpose of improving their readability.
“The Flesch and Flesch-Kincaid methods use formulas based on the average number of words per sentence and the average number of syllables per word. The Gunning-Fog method uses a formula based on the average number of words per sentence and the percentage of “hard” words (words with 3 or more syllables) in the passage. Both the Gunning-Fog and the Flesch-Kincaid give a score that is the number of years of education the reader must have completed to understand the text. The Flesch score is a percentage, and the higher the better, ” per plugin developer John Watson.
- Use an easy to read font and color. The font might look cute on paper, but on a computer screen or phone, it might be unreadable or really hard to read. So consider testing out your font and see how it reads. Is it easy on your eyes?
- Write in small paragraphs. Small paragraphs are easier to digest than long diatribes.
- Use slides or a video. Pictures can say a lot about your blog topic and on SlideShare it automatically prints a transcript. But if you really want to improve literacy, try using a video with a transcript.
On Sunday I plan on tweeting facts about women and literacy all day using the hashtag #LiteracyDay. In the mean time, check out these literacy programs and books:
- H.E.L.P. – HipHop Educational Literacy Program – they use songs to teach literacy. (LOVE this idea!)
- SIL.org – A women’s literacy organization with incredible facts about how literacy affects women globally.
- Girls, Social Class, and Literacy by Stephanie Jones on Amazon.