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Picture book animation
Worth & Soul of Words
A newsletter by Ken Baker,
author for young readers
November 2023

How can you promote literacy?

Promote literacy. 773 million people worldwide lack basic literary skills

Did you know?

Literacy causes and impacts

Do you take your ability to read for granted? Too many think illiteracy is a problem for other people in other places. But 37% of U.S. 4th graders read below the basic level.2 Illiteracy creates wide disparity gaps that harm individuals, communities, countries, and the world.

Common causes of illiteracy include lack of:
  • School access or consistent attendance
  • Book access
  • Reading mentors and role models
  • Adequate income
  • Gender equality
  • Positive literacy cultural attitudes
  • 2nd language skills
  • Essential learning capabilities
  • Good health
  • Parental literacy
Common impacts of illiteracy include:
  • Inability to understand essential information
  • Poor health outcomes, welfare dependency, gender inequality, and social disparity3
  • Difficulty getting or keeping a high paying job (2x more likely to be unemployed)3
  • Limited or no access to professional development
  • Cycle of poverty
  • 1.19 trillion approximate cost to the global economy cost annually3

Donate books to promote literacy

Photo by Ken Baker


Shout out! - Non-profits fighting illiteracy

Promoting literacy can be as simple as reading to your child, volunteering to be a mentor at your local school or donating books. You can also get involved in local, national, and worldwide literacy non-profits in a variety of ways, such as...

Become a literacy ambassador for the Worldwide Literacy Foundation. Organize a book drive in your community with help from Reading is Fundamental, Smart Reading, Kids' Book Bank, or other non-profits. Volunteer as a neighborhood reading captain through Ready Readers. Host a Fight for Literacy Game with Coaching for Literacy. Tutor a student once a week through organizations like Reading Partners. Read to a child at a Reach Out & Read site or start your own site. Find a variety of unique ways in your community to personally engage with those needing literacy help by visiting JustServe.org and entering your zip code with the keyword literacy to get a list of opportunities in your neighborhood.

Book business and life - Writing books that create readers

My main reasons for becoming an author were two‐fold. First, I love creating stories. Second, I want to create positive stories that delight people enough that they'll have a greater desire to read more. That desire to read more can make all the difference in whether or not a child will pick up another book to read. That's literacy promotion. That's what my wacky, silly, and hopefully entertaining picture books are all about.

Heart with books

Heart image by Ken Baker

What I love - Those who encourage reading

In the U.S., November is considered a month of gratitude. In that spirit, I want to express my love and gratitude for those who read to me, took me to the library, and introduced me to books I love.

I wasn't always an avid book lover. But now, I have to be careful with my book addiction. When I find a book I love, it often becomes my soul focus while everything else becomes secondary, including eating, sleeping, working, and socializing.

P.S. - How has literacy blessed your life?

As you consider how literacy has blessed your life, decide what you can to do to help others receive the blessing of literacy. I'd love to hear your plans. Post them with #PromoteLiteracy and tag me @kenbakerbooks.

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  1. UNESCO, Promoting literacy for a world in transition.
  2. The Nation's Report Card
  3. World Literacy Foundation

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T-Rex animation
How to Care for Your T-Rex
Barnes & Noble
Indie Bound
Old MacDonald had a Dragon
Barnes & Noble
Indie Bound
Cow Can't Sleep
Barnes & Noble
Indie Bound
Brave Little Monster
Picture book collection

Copyright 2001-2023 by Ken Baker

How to Care for your T-Rex pictures by Dave Coverly
Old MacDonald had a Dragon pictures by Christopher Santoro
Brave Little Monster pictures by Geoffrey Hayes
Cow Can't Sleep pictures by Steve Gray