Tackling America’s Literacy Problem From A Better Direction

by Jason Falls |

Our education system is broken. We’ve become a society that ships our kids off to school and leaves the education up to the teachers. While the teachers do as good a job as can be expected, they aren’t the one-stop solution to educating our children. We need more than schools and teachers. We need to all be participants in education for our communities and our country to succeed.

In early 2008, I began working with the National Center for Family Literacy when they became a client of my former agency, Doe-Anderson. We helped formulate their early social media efforts and spearheaded a handful of digital strategies to help the organization move forward. (They’re still a client of Doe-Anderson, who continues to do excellent work.)

When my relationship with Doe ended last summer, my client-partner relationship with NCFL had to as well. But the cause remained close to my heart and I was happy to volunteer some time and energy for NCFL. Two months ago, with contractual obligations to my former employer fulfilled, NCFL Executive Director Sharon Darling asked me to serve on her organization’s Board of Directors. I quickly accepted. NCFL has a cause close to my heart, I love what they do and they take my advice.

And NCFL doesn’t just teach people to read. Family Literacy is about multi-generational issues. It’s about adult literacy, forming strong homes and families to build foundations for literacy in our children. It’s about functional literacy, like being able to read maps, balance one’s check book and use a computer. It’s about immigrant populations learning not just a new language, but a culture and world of opportunity blockaded without the wherewithal to navigate the business world.

What I’ve learned working with NCFL is that literacy, in its broad definition and across generations, is the most important societal woe we’ll ever face. Without literacy, none of our jobs have value. With it, all other societal woes can be attacked, even defeated.

Today, the NCFL, an organization that has helped tackle the issue of family literacy for almost three decades, launches a fresh take on family literacy. With more than 33 percent of all U.S. 4th graders not reading, we needed to step up and do something to reinvigorate parents and children around learning.

Today, parents can help nurture a brighter world for their children through discovery, creativity, learning and imagination. They can take them to a place of wonder.

Wonderopolis - Learning Resources for Parents and ChildrenToday, parents can take their children to Wonderopolis.

Educational success comes from the love of learning. Wonderopolis stokes the fires of learning every day and in ways that relate to everyday life. It’s not just a website, it’s a movement. The learning there is big, for you and your child. See for yourself at Wonderopolis.org.

You can connect to Wonderopolis through Twitter and Facebook as well. There you will receive a Wonder of the Day — a fun learning nugget that will spark your child’s interest in learning … and probably your own, too.

Every day.

This is the beginning of what I hope becomes the ultimate case study. There’s credit to be given, but we’re beginning. Let’s slap each other on the back when it proves out. Suffice to say, I’m excited about NCFL and what Wonderopolis can do for the literacy standard in this country and even the world.

And I wanted to share. Thank you for the indulgence.

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).