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Literacy New York encouraging people to ... stop reading?

Thomas Caputo
Staff writer
Posted 9/17/22

If you’re reading this, you just lost the Stop Reading Challenge.

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Literacy New York encouraging people to ... stop reading?


If you’re reading this, you just lost the Stop Reading Challenge.

Literacy New York, an organization dedicated to addressing adult literacy issues, has brought back the Stop Reading Challenge for National Literacy Month.

The challenge asks people to try not reading anything for a total of five minutes.

While the challenge sounds counterproductive with the organization’s mission, they believe it provides a “fun, eye-opening experience that will prove the importance of literacy.”

Most literate people find it hard not to read anything for five minutes, as words surround our environment and people tend to read them automatically, say organizers of the Stop Reading Challenge.

“So now that you have failed at this exercise, your awareness of how you may take for grated this remarkable achievement of reading and its importance to your life is heightened,” said Kelli Johnson, director of community education and engagement at The Reading League.

According to Literacy New York, New York State ranks 49th in the country for literacy, with 25% of adults in the state being considered “low literate.”

Johnson believes the Stop Reading Challenge brings up important questions on how people without the capacity to read get through their daily lives and what the outcomes are for those who do not become proficient readers.

Literacy New York has turned the Stop Reading Challenge into a social media fundraising campaign, encouraging people who accept the challenge to take a photo of what they read, post it on social media, tag Literacy New York’s social media accounts and to use the hashtag #StopReadingChallenge.

The organization asks those who take on the challenge and fail, or even pass, to donate $5 to Literacy New York.

Donations from the challenge will go towards the organization’s mission to help serve a network of literacy organizations across the state and to provide quality literacy instruction.

Cecelia Brock, director of Literacy of Northern New York, emphasized the importance of funding for literacy programs.

“Ask any adult education program in your community and they’ll probably tell you they have a student waiting list and do not have enough trained, volunteer tutors,” Brock said.

“They also do not have operating funds or staff. We are fortunate in New York State to have a statewide adult literacy organization. Many states do not,” Brock added.



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