It’s impossible to deny the importance of literacy. The President put it best when he stated that “Reading is the foundation upon which all other learning is built” and that “by passing a passion for literature on to our sons and daughters, we prepare them to be lifelong, successful readers, and we provide them with an essential skill necessary for academic achievement.” Without the ability to read, basic life skills like paying bills, reading signs or menus, enjoying great literature or even simply writing a note to a friend are impossible. While the United States overall has a strong 99% literacy rate, Chicago, IL for example has a rate of just 53%. It’s a number that needs to be raised, and through her used book store, one Chicago local is helping to boost that percentage.
This edition of “Women Working to Do Good” showcases Stacy Ratner, a bibliophile who opened her own non-profit used book store in Chicago to help improve literacy and educate people on the causes of illiteracy. The author writes:
“It takes a strong, visionary community member to create such an ambitious, multifaceted nonprofit with such an urgent mission. The Stacy Ratner story is a unique one about entrepreneurship, literacy promotion and community leadership that can inspire anyone to not only do what you love, but to turn a lifelong love into a valuable cause worth doing for a lifetime.”
Stacy has taken her passion for books and championed literacy in her local community through writing workshops, writing fieldtrips, and reading sessions. One page at a time, she is spreading the infinite and awesome power of books.
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Ronnie Cho is an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement.