The Right to Read


This article argues that reading should be understood as a universal human right. Once recognized in principle, it remains necessary to translate the right to read from a vague ideal into concrete content. As a starting point, the right to read requires that every person be entitled to education for literacy and the liberty to freely choose the reading material they prefer. Less obviously, but crucially, the right to read also means that everyone must have access to an adequate supply of reading material. Law and policy must be designed to ensure that books, ebooks, and other reading material are made widely available and affordable—even to the poor and to speakers of minority languages.