Chicago Literacy Alliance
September Literacy Month
with the Chicago Literacy Alliance
The ability to read is such an amazing gift we can give and teach at any age, from childhood through adulthood. Its benefits are endless, from providing a stress reliever and building empathy to increasing job opportunities and making the world an easier place to live and navigate. I’ve seen this first hand through my work with the Chicago Literacy Alliance (CLA), an association of 100+ organizations working to meet the literacy needs for people of all ages and backgrounds. Working together, both with nonprofits and companies with literacy programs, we are dedicated to making an impact and creating a 100% literate Chicago.
Illiteracy is a huge problem in Chicago, with 882,000 adults who would benefit from basic literacy services and 49% of 4th graders who are below basic levels of reading proficiency. The Chicago Literacy Alliance's member organizations are working to fix this problem and serve 18 million people by providing tens of thousands of hours of literacy programming and hundreds of thousands of books. Our members span the spectrum, from early childhood programs to adult literacy programs, and provide an array of services such as building traditional literacy skills, fostering a love of reading and writing, and supporting teachers and parents.
There is even a home for literacy in Chicago in the West Loop--the Literacenter, the first shared co-working space in North America dedicated to literacy. The Literacenter is a major statement for the cause of literacy, providing the physical manifestation of the CLA’s commitment to literacy in Chicago. It hosts 12 resident member organizations, 15 meeting and conference rooms, and several large event spaces to provide organizations with an affordable, professional and fun work and event space. The power, energy and atmosphere of the Literacenter are unique, and we believe that nonprofit professionals deserve a space that is fun and inviting. Our space is filled with whimsical features including rooms named using book puns (Roomeo and Juliet is a fan favorite), Literascooters, bright colors, and books throughout the space. A LitLounge filled with game tables and other entertainment adds to the atmosphere for our members, and the Literacenter has earned the nickname “Disneyworld for word nerds.”
September is National Literacy Month, and the CLA will commemorate it with a variety of events to raise awareness and support for literacy in Chicago. See below for ways you can support literacy:
Libations for Literacy - September 7, 6 pm, 82CHI- A happy hour fundraiser supporting literacy in Chicago. Hosted by the CLA associate board, the Literassociates.
International Literacy Day - September 8, 4 pm, Koehneke Community Center, Concordia University Chicago- Celebrate literacy and learn about the amazing literacy services being offered in our community through presentations, performances, and interactive experiences!
Wicker Park Lit Fest - September 15-17- An annual literary fest held in the unique and historic Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago.
State of Literacy Symposium: Advocacy Through Collaboration – September 28, 8:30 am – 3 pm- CLA’s third annual literacy symposium will feature panels and presentations from literacy experts including Chicago Public Library Commissioner and CEO Brian Bannon, Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition, and Communities in Schools Chicago. All discussions will focus on the day’s topic: Advocacy through Collaboration.
Whether you attend these events, become a monthly donor, or sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on our work, I hope you’ll consider supporting literacy in Chicago.