The board and members of the National Coalition for Literacy celebrate the life and legacy of former first lady Barbara Bush, and send sincere condolences to her family on the occasion of her passing, April 17, 2018.
A passionate advocate for literacy, Mrs Bush continually stressed the empowering nature of the ability to read and write. Through the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which she founded in 1989, she supported programs and services that increase educational opportunity for adults and children across the United States. CNN’s Natalie Johnson notes that “since 1989, the foundation has partnered with local organizations and raised more than $110 million to create and expand literacy programs across the country.”
Mrs. Bush was also an influential voice supporting passage of the National Literacy Act of 1991, which established the National Institute for Literacy and increased the federal support for adult education that had been mandated initially in the Adult Education Act of 1966. (The National Literacy Act and the Adult Education Act were replaced by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act in 1998.)
As a powerful champion for adult literacy and family learning over many years, Barbara Bush touched and transformed the lives of countless readers, opening to them the opportunities that literacy affords. The NCL honors her achievements, her commitment, and her passion, and is proud to have collaborated with the Barbara Bush Foundation to advance the field of adult education. We are pleased to know that her work will continue through the Foundation’s initiatives.
As Mrs Bush herself noted in her Family Reading Tips, “The real point is to keep reading — as much and as often as we can.”