Reading Changes Lives is a response to the crippling literacy gap in the world. This gap continues to be a persistent problem in the United States and abroad.

As a complicated and broad social justice issue, literacy is an issue that touches (and addresses) other issues, including economic justice, gender inequality, criminal justice, and public education, racial justice, among others. But it affects very simple aspects of our lives, from being able to complete a job application to reading the instructions on a prescription bottle.

In fact, limited literacy skills are a major contributor to poverty, illiteracy becomes a barrier for those marginalized by race and economic status. Reading Changes Lives acknowledges that literacy is essential to end the cycle of poverty, to close the school-to-prison pipeline, and to create inclusive, healthy communities where all can be active and advocate for themselves.

In our continued fight for equality and justice, the United Church of Christ (UCC) recognizes that the inability to read is detrimental to a person’s basic human rights. The need has never been greater for faith communities to stand up and take action. The UCC is ready to accept the call to justice. The time to address the current crisis is NOW, and the need is pressing upon us. Our Christian mandate dictates such.

Join in our effort to educate, engage and inspire action.

Reading Changes Lives will begin the fall of 2014 with the inaugural "One Read," an all-church read with an inspirational book: Hot Dogs and Hamburgers: Unlocking Life's Potential by Inspiring Literacy at Any Age.

This ongoing literacy initiative will continue into spring 2015 with March Forth for Literacy (March 4, 2015), a day for concentrated focus on literacy awareness that will offer congregations opportunities to share with the whole church their involvement in literacy issues locally and nationally and give individuals opportunities to share their literacy-related experiences, either as volunteers or persons who have struggled with literacy themselves. Stay tuned for updates on this page and on the UCC's Facebook page.

Also, General Synod 30 (held in late June in Cleveland, Ohio) will lift-up literacy as a service project focus and ask Synod attendees to participate within the Greater Cleveland community, one of the country's urban centers of illiteracy.

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