WASHINGTON— As educators prepare for International Literacy Day on Sept. 8, a young activist works to foster her love of reading in her community of Anacostia in Southeast Washington D.C.

Havana Chapman-Edwards, 7, hosted her first reading hour at Mahogany Books earlier in the summer, and she plans to continue them during the school year.

Research by the Literacy Foundation suggests that the ability to read well directly impacts health, employment and self-esteem.

Mahogany Books co-founder Ramunda Young says she hopes story hours like Havana’s will encourage more children to read, and that increasing literacy will have a lasting impact in the classroom and their communities as a whole.