Reading is Freedom



Many kids don’t have proper access to educational resources.

A critical aspect of a child’s growth is their ability to read. Illiteracy is directly linked to poverty, poor educational outcomes, unemployment, crime and long-term health problems. Literacy is the pathway for a child to reach their full potential. According to NAEP results ‒ from tests given to a sample of students in every state in 2017 ‒ Michigan ranks 35th in the nation in 4th Grade reading levels. This means that our early intervention strategies need to be a priority. Without any effective early intervention, adult illiteracy can have a profound economic and social cost in Michigan.

Through research, we have determined that children from marginalized and disadvantaged backgrounds have the greatest need and also have limited access to suitable books, leaving them trapped in generational illiteracy. Michigan Reads is an early intervention strategy aimed at increasing access to books and empowering readers in their early years

Michigan Reads is an initiative of the World Literacy Foundation, a global not-for-profit organization working to lift young people out of poverty through the power of literacy.



Although we have many goals, seeing children and families reach their full potential through proper education is our main concern. To help us pin point where we can improve and where we are excelling we will be collecting different forms of data throughout the year, running and hosting numerous programs, and partnering with community partners and businesses to get a more accurate portrayal of our work and to help bring together a more collective force against illiteracy.


Raising pre-literacy skills of children


Seeing behavioral changes in children and parents


Growing school participation and reading participation rates


Increasing community awareness through strategic partnerships


Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope…” Kofi Anan  |  Former UN Secretary-General


History of the World Literacy Foundation

In 1966, l started school unable to read. Thanks to a wonderful Reading Specialist, l discovered the joy of reading. Later in life, l understood the power of literacy and how all learning starts with the ability to read.

In 2001, I read a United Nations report and I was deeply troubled by the high rates of illiteracy. Then I traveled to Ethiopia in 2002 and was shocked to see classrooms empty of any books and basic educational resources. I witnessed first-hand the link between young people and the poverty trap due to their limited education.

After a successful commercial career, l wanted to give back to the community. Therefore in 2003, I established the World Literacy Foundation with the goal to bring books, tutoring and literacy resources to children without any support. In 2005, we started with the transportation of children’s books to Africa and a few later years, incorporated the creation of low-cost digital e-books in local languages.

In 2016, we designed a solar panel tablet device called “Sun Books” to bring an e-library of local and international educational books to classrooms in Uganda where there are no internet, electricity or textbooks.

In 2018, we started the creation of e-books and literacy games in local Indigenous languages and English, to better support children learning English through their mother-tongue.

Meanwhile, in 2014 we run for the first time the World Literacy Summit at Oxford University to bring together the global literacy community to build greater collaboration and partnerships. It was a complete success and we decided to celebrate it again in 2016, 2018 and now we are working on the 2020 conference.

Last year, we reached more than 350,000 children and young people with our services in USA, Australia, UK, Africa, and Latin America. I am satisfied and keen to continue working for literacy and education for children because I strongly believe literacy is the vehicle, the pathway to young people reaching their full potential.


Founder and CEO World Literacy Foundation


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