The Literacy goal of District 5960 is to strengthen the capacity of our clubs to create projects to help communities address the full range of literacy and mathematical challenges for primary, vocational, and adult learners as well as teacher training.

We know that basic education and literacy are essential for reducing poverty, improving health, encouraging community and economic development, and promoting peace. The District Literacy Team purpose is to provide resources that will support a club’s efforts to start and/or maintain literacy programs.


Step I - What are the literacy goals of your club?

Literacy Goals for All Clubs

•       Talk with the schools and work force centers about the needs of the community

•       Every Rotary year plan to undertake at least one literacy project locally and/or internationally.

•       Earn a District Literacy Award by completing three literacy projects in a year. Complete five for District Literacy Award with Distinction

•       Plan literacy projects that are newsworthy and expose your club to the public.

•       Use your literacy projects to recruit new members.

•       Partner with your local library and/or literacy organization to expand the scope of your club’s literacy project(s).

•       Partner with other Rotary clubs that have disadvantaged communities to support their literacy projects.

•       Publicize your literacy project(s) using social and print media to broaden awareness of Rotary and your club and to recruit partners and volunteers.

•       Try to make your project a “bricks and mortar” project like “Rotary Reading Nooks” where you can place a Rotary club poster or plaque and club information materials.

•       Invite Interactors and Rotaractors to participate in your literacy projects.

•       Participate in the District-wide Literacy Project.

•       Your club’s own unique goal.


Step 2 - Selecting a Literacy Program


There are many things to consider when choosing a literacy project for your Rotary Club. Club projects are just like other things; they need to be evaluated with regularity to ensure they still are the best value for dollars spent. The points below address only a few of the things to consider when allocating money and time to literacy projects.

1.    What group is our proposed project targeting and is there a need for the project within that group? Literacy needs exist within the preschool, school-aged and adult populations. Assess where there is greatest need and consider less served groups and see if there is something Rotary can do for those populations.


2.    Is there an opportunity to partner with another service provider in the area to increase the effectiveness of the project? Sometimes the expense and administration of a project make it imperative to involve other members of the community. In addition, this often allows expanded awareness, which will assist in alerting target groups and spread knowledge of the program.


3.    Is there an opportunity to serve a group that is often forgotten? Some groups that are often not considered for service include, for example, the Elizabeth Fry Society, Correction Services, the Visually and Hearing Impaired.


4.    Is this project currently valid or has technology reduced its usefulness? Literacy support resources have changed with the rapid increase of technology in the learning environment making traditional resources less engaging and useful.


5.    Does the project consider the cultural background of the targeted group? There needs to be an awareness of the cultural practices, values and sometimes income levels of the targeted group.


6.    This short list of things to consider is meant to promote thoughtful analysis of the projects supported by Rotary Clubs. As George Bernard Shaw said: “The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.” Evaluation is essential.


But what is a literacy project? 

Is it a simple or difficult thing?

What if none of us are teachers?


A literacy project can be as straightforward as raising funds to buy a set of books for a school, community group, or a retirement village.

It can be about educating people, whether young or mature, who need support in developing their literacy skills.

Businesses can also benefit by improving the literacy skills of their workforce, as demonstrated through improvements in productivity, the confidence and communication capacity of employees, and better health and safety. As more people gain qualifications and skills over time, businesses will benefit by having more skilled and effective workers.

Try developing a community literacy project that could work for permanent social change.




Introduction to Basic Education and Literacy
1 Assessing and Responding to Community Needs
2 Low Adult Literacy
3 Youth Not in School
4 Youth Underperforming in School
5 Lack of Resources in Schools
6 Rotary Resources
7 Recommended Reading