Former Microsoft Executive Helps Improve Global Literacy

June 24, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. literacy [LIT-er-uh-see] (n.) –  one’s capacity to read and write
Example:  Teachers help improve literacy by teaching children how to read and write.

2. impoverished [im-POV-er-isht] (adj.) – having little or no money or possession
ExampleImpoverished areas need more donations, especially food and clothing.

3. headmaster [HED-MAS-ter, -MAH-ster] (n.) – a man who heads a private school
Example: The headmaster makes decisions for the school.

4. overwhelming [oh-ver-WEL–ming] (adj.) – very intense; with overpowering effect
Example: His overwhelming desire to help the poor made him create a charitable institution. 

5. mission [MISH-uhn] (n.) – a goal or a desired result that involves strong passion
Example: One of the charity’s missions is to protect the rights of children.


Read the text below.
Former Microsoft executive John Wood helps improve literacy by providing books and libraries to the poorest children in the world. Today, almost eight hundred million people around the world cannot read nor write.

In 1998, Wood met a school headmaster in Nepal. The headmaster invited Wood to visit his school of 450 students. Little did Wood know that this invitation would change his life.

During his visit to the school, Wood saw conditions of extreme poverty.  He even discovered that the school library contains no book at all. Soon after, Wood promised to fill the library with books. With the overwhelming need for good education, he fulfilled his promise and came back with 3,000 books.

Wood then left the corporate world and created a charitable organization called ‘Room to Read.’ He even used some of his own money to establish the said non-profit organization.

Room to Read aims to bring books and education to 10 million impoverished children in different parts of the world. The organization also wishes to empower girls through education to emphasize the importance of gender equality.

For years, Room to Read, with the help of donors and local communities, has built more than 15,000 libraries and 1,650 schools in the poorest countries in Asia and Africa. It has also published colorful children’s books written in different languages.

Today, Room to Read is already way ahead of its plan of achieving its mission, expecting to accomplish its goal by 2015.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you can create a charitable institution, what would it be and why?
·         If you were John Wood, would you do the same to help poor children? Why or Why not?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think it is important to provide education, especially for poor people?
·         In your opinion, how can education be more accessible to everyone?


June 24, 2013