Dr. Seuss — 

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

“Literacy is a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning. It is fully essential to social and human development in its ability to transform lives. For individuals, families, and societies alike, it is an instrument of empowerment to improve one’s health, one’s income, and one’s relationship with the world.” 

Last month the world celebrated International Literacy Month to highlight the importance and transformative ability of literacy throughout the international community. International Literacy Month was first introduced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1965 and is celebrated each September across the globe. 

At the ASYV, learning to read is the most important tool we can give to our students and is the key to their success in whatever industry they pursue. While the required reading for school is of the highest priority, the ASYV library provides a diverse selection of books that are constantly being snatched up by our students. It is common to see kids sprawled out on the Library couches, gripped by the latest Nora Ephron saga. 

The ASYV Library is open every day after school and on weekends to ensure that students have access to whatever their literary craving may be. Senior 6 (12th grade) students Diana Uwimana and Vanessa Abewe of the Marie Curie family are two of the library’s most frequent guests. “Reading helps to improve my critical thinking, which is a very important skill. When I read about a character that has a problem I think about the problem as if I am the one who has to solve it. So if I am ever confronted with that problem in real life I know how to face it because I have read about it,” said Vanessa, of her love for reading.  

Furthermore, it helps me to know how other people live. I learn from the characters in the books, what behaviors they have and I learn from this character about how I can act in my own life,” she continued.  

Diana added, “I learn so much from the books that I read. When I’m reading and a character helps the world, I try in my real life to be like him or her and encourage others to do so as well.

Reading provides ASYV students with the opportunity to lose themselves in the pages of another world. For all ages and cultures, books are the windows into other countries, cultures, and religions. Agahozo-Shalom is glad to provide students with whatever genre they wish to pursue, from Dr. Seuss to J.D Salinger. 

For me, it’s like I have visited all around the world. I made the trip sitting in my room, reading books,” concluded Vanessa as she turned away from me and continued where she left off in Suzanne Collins’, The Hunger Games.   

Submitted by Sasha Friedman, 2014 Village Fellow