I have been working on a press release for Reading Horizons. As part of my research, I have stumbled upon some alarming literacy statistics. It’s things that I knew but, somehow, seeing them again in black and white is more than sobering. I’m frightened about the future outcome of an illiterate nation – our nation – there are just so many people who still need to learn to read.
Let me share a few reading statistics that I’ve recently uncovered:
- 21 million Americans can’t read at all, 45 million are marginally illiterate and one-fifth of high school graduates can’t read their diplomas. -Department of Justice
- More than three out of four of those on welfare, 85% of unwed mothers and 68% of those arrested are illiterate. About three in five of America’s prison inmates are illiterate. -Washington Literacy Council
- 50 percent of American adults are unable to read an eighth grade level book. - Jonathon Kozol, Illiterate America
- Approximately 50 percent of the nation’s unemployed youth age 16-21 are functional illiterate, with virtually no prospects of obtaining good jobs. -U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- It is estimated that more than $2 billion is spent each year on students who repeat a grade because they have reading problems. -U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Does this cause concern for anyone else? I realize that as a country, we are juggling many challenges… but as you can see, being functionally literate is at the core of most of our problems.
My vote is a return to our senses – let’s encourage, advocate, and get behind the movement of learning to read in the quickest, most effective way possible.
We can save the green with improved literacy. We can even help others make more of it.
It’s more than being lucky… it’s being smart.
How do we turn the tide of illiteracy in this country?
Play Lemons for Literacy to help struggling readers in need earn free literacy materials: