I often wonder about the relevance and lifespan of our youthful magazine-based literacy program.
I was driving up a highway in NJ today and noticed two payphones at a rest stop. It struck me how very quickly that seemingly every person has acquired a cellular payphone for their pocket, rendering roadside payphones both mute. I fully expect that, as bandwidth broadens over cable, phone, and fiber optic lines, downloadable feature-length movies will replace streetside and online DVD movie rentals in a flash. So what of print magazines?
I remain optimistic about the future of coated stock for a number of reasons:
- My keyboard smells like food droppings and spilled coffee, not like a bouquet of the latest magazine fragrances.
- Magazines in my mailbox and on every newsstand call out to me.
- When I close my eyes so that my favorite blogs can speak to me, the room goes illiterately silent (i.e. Johnny can’t read a web page if he can’t read.)
Ours is the first and only nationwide, magazine industry-wide literacy project for children and families. Our mission is to put wonderful magazines into the hands, hearts, and homes of children and families who would otherwise not have them. One of our greatest challenges is reaching people who then sponsor the teachers, mentors, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and other literacy agents who help children and families learn and love to read.
Once, over ten years ago, an executive director of a battered women’s shelter wrote me to explain how children and their moms arrived at her shelter with no belongings, and how wonderful it would be to be able to give each child a magazine with their name on the label. I held on to that letter for all the years up until reaching a point in my own life when I could launch MagazineLiteracy.org. Now, we make the necessary connections possible by inspiring and facilitating donations from individuals, groups, and business owners that sponsor magazines for literacy agents serving children and families in their own communities. But we need to reach more people in more communities to reach our full promise. Join us on this journey… Visit MagazineLiteracy.org to learn how you and your friends and family can subscribe to literacy.