Why Literacy?

Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, compute, and communicate using visual, audible, and digital materials across disciplines and in any context.

The ability to read, write, and communicate connects people to one another and empowers them to achieve things they never thought possible. Communication and connection are the basis of who we are and how we live together and interact with the world.

The Problem

It's astonishing that in this day and age, there are still millions of people from every corner of the world who are denied access to literacy education. Sadly, it's true.



global population

Roughly 12 percent of the world's population is considered functionally illiterate, with only basic or below-basic literacy levels in their native languages.


million people

781 million people worldwide still cannot read or write.


million youths

126 million youths are illiterate.

source: UIS, 2014

Our Solution




For the past 60 years we have provided teachers and leaders with the resources and expertise to support and inspire their students and each other.

Setting standards & leadership

We have set the standards and agendas for literacy instruction and evaluation, and we've advocated for the cause of literacy before leaders at all levels.



We've built a global community of literacy practitioners that spreads this transformative power across 128 countries.

Our Impact

We've got the credentials, the conviction, and the chops...
And we won't stop until literacy is a fundamental, inalienable, human right worldwide.

Our global projects

We have developed and managed dozens of global projects addressing literacy issues across the developing world from Macedonia to Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.

Read More

Our research

Our research journals, publications, advocacy, professional development, and standards for literacy educators have shaped and refined the instructional skills of tens of thousands of educators and, through their professional efforts, brought the gifts of literacy to millions of learners in all walks of life.

Read More

Our affiliates

Together with our affiliates, we advocate before legislative and regulatory bodies for the resources and professional development needed to enhance student comprehension skills while raising research-based concerns about the pedagogical limitations of high-stakes testing.

Read More

Help Us Make This the Age of Literacy

Get Involved