Sept. 8 is International Literacy Day: EveryStep's Role

While literacy rates have improved in the more than 50 years since the first International Literacy Day, illiteracy remains a global problem. In the U.S., an estimated 32 million adults are unable to read or write.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) created International Literacy Day in 1966, with the mission to fight illiteracy one person at a time in local communities. EveryStep is part of this mission not just on September 8, but every day.

EveryStep’s Play & Learn program helps children ages 0 to 8 get ready for school and stay that way. Sessions are held each week through the year at schools, parks and learning centers in Polk County. Parents and caregivers participate in guided activities with their children and there is a strong focus on literacy. The Play & Learn program distributes an average of 45 books to children each month.

Camille Juarez is one of the parents whose children the program has touched.

“EveryStep’s Play & Learn has been a staple of my children’s literacy exposure,” says Camille. “For the last six years, we’ve attended events that were fun and informational. We’ve received free books and helpful advice from literacy specialists. I recommend Play & Learn to all my mom friends — it’s a great way to stay involved with your community and your child’s learning.”

For a limited time, EveryStep’s Play & Learn is offering free books to families across Iowa (while supplies last). Books are designed for kids ages 0 to 5 and will be delivered through the mail. To request a free book, visit and scroll down to “Book Form.”