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Art and science on the literacy problem

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Project “Let Them Eat Cake! / Neka jedu kolače!” presented a video celebrating International Literacy Day, which takes place on September 8th. With this video, the art organisation ARKTIK – Institute for the Future wants to raise awareness about the problem of illiteracy of the population and the importance of investment in literacy development, regardless of age group.

Project is being created through a public calls aimed at the general public, enthusiasts and multidisciplinary artists to create video performans aimed at raising the awareness of the topics of the international days covered with this project. The content of the project presents a combination of cooking and nutrition as a general interest, and art and activist topics that society and the media should always deal with more.

In order to further raise awareness and educate as many people as possible about this problem, we bring list of films, books and scientific articles dealing with the problem of illiteracy, which can serve for further independent research on this topic.


  • The First Grader (2010)


    The film tells the story of an 84-year-old Kenyan farmer and former veteran who fights for his right to an education he could never afford before.
  • Butterfly Dreams (2013)


    The film follows a nine-year-old girl in rural India, exploited by child labor, who must find a way to make her dream come true – to read and to write. She is given one last chance when an educated man comes to town.
  • Las Analfabetas (2013)


    The film presents a bitter woman in her fifties who is reluctant to accept the biggest challenge of her life – learning to read.

Books and articles:

  1. Gholdy Muhammad, Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy


In this book, Dr. Gholdy E. Muhammad presents a four-layered framework of equity – one that is grounded in history and linked to education and literacy. This framework, which she calls, Historically Responsible Literacy, is derived from a study of the development of literacy in 19th-century black literacy societies. The framework is important and universal for all students, especially young people of different races, who are traditionally marginalized in learning standards, school policies and classrooms.

  1. Natalie Wexler, The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System – and How to Fix It


Wexler brings together historical facts, research, and compelling figures to present the flaws of the American education system — ones which are long overlooked by reformers, journalists, and politicians that the general public, including many parents, is still unaware of.

  1. Anna Robinson-Pant, Women, Literacy, and Development: Alternative Perspectives

Combining the experiences of researchers, politicians and practitioners working in more than a dozen countries, this edited article presents alternative views on gender, development and literacy through detailed first-hand reports. Instead of seeing literacy as a set of technical skills taught in classrooms, these writers give new meaning to key concepts such as “barriers”, “culture”, “empowerment” and “motivation”.

  1. Kelsey Tarbert, Learning Literacy through Music

In today’s society, it would be difficult for a person to function without developed literacy skills, and it is for this reason that the emphasis in the classroom is on literacy. On the other hand, music is perceived as an extracurricular activity or a place where students can have fun. However, music has great value and can teach students many of the skills needed for well-rounded development.

  1. Hyunjoon Park i Pearl Kyei, Literacy Gaps by Educational Attainment: A Cross-National Analysis

This paper analyzes data on literacy skills of young adults from 19 countries in an international adult literacy survey from 1994 to 1998 and reveals that in all countries, people with a higher level of education have higher literacy skills. Using two-tier hierarchical linear models, the paper reveals that interstate differences in the literacy gap between more and less educated individuals are systematically related to the degree of inequality in school resources (teaching materials, class size, teachers experience and certification).

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