Literacy Day

There are 771 million illiterate adults around the world. This exposes them to an increased vulnerability and a cycle of poverty that is hard to break. 

Following the pandemic, nearly 24 million learners might never go back to formal education.

We believe literacy is a human right. And we’re committed to the sharing of knowledge that can spark ideas for transforming literacy spaces so that everyone, regardless of their location, has the opportunity to learn literacy skills.

That is why, this International Literacy Day, we want to shine a light on our research and call for research that explores different ways of learning.

If you would like to contribute to the discussion, or you are working on research in areas related to literacy, we'd love to hear from you.

Get in touch

A catalyst for change

International Literacy Day 2022 - Transforming literacy spaces

We believe that research and knowledge can be a catalyst for change. Giving more people more access to learning, in a way that works for them. But we need your help.

Research can help to find ways to make learning more accessible, to unlock opportunities, and to open more doors, so no one is left behind.

Contribute today

Thought-provoking content, helping to drive change

We’ve curated our research and made it free access for you to use, as well as collaborating with people in the know to bring you thought leadership content.

Author thoughts

Blogs, podcasts & infographic


Creativity transforms our literacy spaces

Janet Ho photo

Author: Janet Ho, Lingnan University

Janet discusses the benefits of bringing creativity to learning to stimulate students' creativity and problem-solving skills, creating more opportunities for them in life.


Quality education for all, leaving no-one behind

Wendy Purcell photo

Author: Dr Wendy M. Purcell, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University

Dr Purcell argues that building confidence and competence through higher education focused on the pursuit of sustainable development is an investment in the shared future of humanity.


Emerald & Jacobs Foundation podcast mini-series


"I just want to word it better": developing disciplinary literacies in an after-school spoken word poetry team

Melina Lesus, Andrea Vaughan

Research exploring how youth poets wrote in a community of practice and how their out-of-school poetry writing contributed toward developing disciplinary literacy.

> View the infographic  |  > Read the full article

What's in the infographic

Beyond classroom borders: rethinking disciplinary literacy in an out-of-school writing context

Out-of-school writing environments can be supportive for students who struggle with writing in an English Language Arts (ELA) classroom

Viewing writing as a discipline can help explain this disconnect

How were the youth in an after-school poetry team engaged in authentic writing as members of a community of practice?

A qualitative case study of an after-school spoken-word poetry team

3 female students of colour worked on:

  • Individual poems
  • Collaborative poems

Data collection and analysis

  • Marrative field notes
  • Student writings and process drawings
  • Interview transcripts

Authentic writing in a community of practice

  • Upheld ownership of their writing
  • Behizadeh’s (2019) conception of authenticity
  • Writing echoes...
    • Student experiences
    • Purpose and intended audiences

Practical implications for ELA teachers

  • Extend the concept of writing practices beyond formal settings
  • Help foster collaborative eorts
  • Increase student choice in writing practices

ELA teachers can harness such out-of-school settings to create more authentic writing opportunities that promote disciplinary learning

"I Just Want to Word it Better": Developing Disciplinary Literacies in an After-school Spoken Word Poetry Team
English Teaching: Practice & Critique
Melina Lesus & Andrea Vaughan (2022)
DOI: 10.1108/ETPC-06-2021-0069


Free access book chapters

For a limited time only, these chapters are free to access.

The books can be purchased from our bookstore.

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Special issues


Calls for papers

We’re looking for articles to publish in these titles.

Find out about the journals' aims, typical areas of interest and how to submit by clicking through the cards.

Browse all calls for papers

our goals & missions

Quality education for all

We believe in quality education for everyone, everywhere and by highlighting the issue and working with experts in the field, we can find ways to be part of the solution.

Our goal is to help researchers to share their work, and partner to find ways to break down the divides. We believe in equal opportunity to access quality education and participate in higher education, training and work, with a voice that is heard. Everyone should have a chance to be the best they can be regardless of where they started.

Alignment & partnerships

We know that literacy rates are intrinsically linked to breaking cycles of poverty in the world’s poorest regions. But solving the issue of global literacy takes time, effort and resources in order to make a difference.

We recognise that literacy is not something that can be changed overnight, but every contribution we make can help to break the cycle, one day at a time.

Save the Children

For 2022, Emerald colleagues voted to support Save the Children, with a keen interest in their work around education, and the shared belief that every child has the right to learn. Our charity activity is focused around raising funds to help make a difference to children's learning worldwide, and so far this year we've raised over £21,000 for Save the Children.

Supporting Literacy and Quality Education

We recognise that literacy is not something that can be changed overnight, but every contribution we make can help to break the cycle, one day at a time. 

We specialise in social science research that furthers the UN SDGs, and aims to have real impact.


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Talk to us about your work

We really welcome insights not only from researchers but practitioners too about their work.

If you would like to contribute to the discussion, or you are working on research in areas related to literacy, please let us now by filling in this form.

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  • Area(s) of interest
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