Speaking Books Partners with Rotary for Health Care Literacy

Almost 16% of the world’s population is illiterate. Far more are functionally illiterate - they cannot think critically, follow healthcare instructions, or develop essential life or vocational skills. Where literacy is lowest, so is health. Much of Africa lives in poverty, with little to no access to health care services or quality education. When brochures and information pamphlets are available, they are usually in English (which is not the first language of most Africans) and are useless if they cannot be read and understood.


With this in mind, the Speaking Books was created. The Speaking Book is a hard-cover book with 16 pages of colourful illustrations and easy-to-understand text that literally talk to the reader at the touch of a button. Regardless of the level of reading comprehension, literacy, age, illness or geographical area, life-saving information can be accessed and seen, read, heard and understood with powerful results. Each Speaking Book is designed in a way that resonates with the intended population. From text, illustration and soundtracks (often using celebrity voices), the Books are created for and empower local communities and generate excitement around learning and knowledge.

From the 6th to the 9th of June, Rotary International held their Convention in S?o Paulo, Brazil, and the Speaking Books were a hit with all those involved with LITRAG (The Literacy Rotarian Action Group). Incoming LITRAG Chairman, Barry Smith, showed off the Speaking Books and donated copies to teachers for use in classrooms, school libraries and communities. Thanks to Rotary International and the Sir Emeko Foundation in Nigeria, a Speaking Book on polio has been distributed amongst communities in conflict-ridden areas of the country.


Speaking Books is now working with the Sesame Workshop to create a Speaking Book specifically to help pre-school children learn the alphabet and improve school readiness. A recent study has shown that Sesame Street is comparable to pre-school in terms of school readiness, age appropriate progression and lasting educational benefits particularly for disadvantaged children who don't have the chance to go to pre-school. Our new Speaking Book, introducing the Hausa alphabet to Nigerian children, is not only fun and interactive, it helps children learn to read and write.
 Speaking Books together with Sesame Workshop and Rotary International are now planning to join forces to start building a global library for children of Speaking Books on issues like bullying, nutrition, racial and religious harmony, literacy and health and wellness that will be distributed by Rotary members.
Visit the Speaking Books website on www.speakingbooks.com for more information and see what people from around the world have to say about this incredible yet simple innovation.