What is Character Literacy (CL)? Character Literacy is a concept which I coined along with the chair of the Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management at the University of Florida, Dr. Michael Sagas. Character Literacy is demonstrable proof that one has learned the requisite character values in order to understand how to morally and ethically respond to a given situation. More importantly, an advanced level of Character Literacy will assure that one’s actions are in accordance with these learned character values.
Character Literacy Development (CLD) posits a progressively developmental process for youth character enrichment and unfoldment that needs to be deliberately and intentionally emphasized. These character values need to be formulaically developed as a vital life skills component to developing our youth with the same emphasis for “reading literacy” and “health literacy.” CLD is an integral subset and corollary support to the foundation for the Athlete Development Literacy (ADL) model that UF’s Lab for Athlete & Athletics Development and Research (LAADR) has created.
As my guidebook and community talks point out, there is a problem with youth sports. It is an endemic problem that is driving millions of children away from sports at an alarming rate. In fact, studies show that 6% more young student-athletes are opting out of sports than ever before. I discuss the two root causes for this but, more importantly, I have developed programs that provide real solutions to work to solve these problems through my community talks and 8-week character development through sports curriculum.