World Vision International

World Book Day

UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to recognise the power of books to change lives for the better.

On April 23, 2019, the world will come together to celebrate World Book Day and Copyright Day. This year's theme, "celebrates literature and reading, while focusing particularly on the importance of enhancing and protecting Indigenous languages."

Developing literacy skills in the early years is crucial to a child’s success in school and later in life. World Vision works with communities and families to ensure that all children – including the most vulnerable – have access to an abundance of reading materials in order to become fluent readers who understand what they read.

World Vision supports children to have the opportunity to learn first in their mother language as a means of promoting education that is more comprehensible, as well as more valued by students, parents and communities. We believe the use of mother tongue-based instruction leads to improved educational outcomes, makes a vital contribution to global citizenship by promoting intercultural connections, and supports the overall viability of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Learn more about how World Vision supports communities to ensure that children have access to books in order to build their literacy skills: 

The facts: reading matters

  • Children are more likely to enroll and succeed in school when they're instructed in their mother tongue. [4]
  • If all students in low income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty, which would be equivalent to a 12% cut in world poverty.[2]
  • Globally, one year of school increases earnings by 10% on average.[3]
  • Children’s first language is the optimal language for literacy and learning throughout primary school, but many educational systems around the world teach children the national language or one not spoken at home.[4]

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[1] Benson, C. (2002). Real and potential benefits of bilingual progammes in developing countries. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 5 (6), 303-317.
[2] UNESCO Global Monitoring Report 2013/2014 pg. 18
[3] Ibid
[4] UNESCO (2008a). Mother Tongue Matters: Local Language as a Key to Effective Learning. Paris: UNESCO.