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Many of our readers probably know, but weâre pretty heavily into helping people learn to read. In fact, weâve even got a whole campaign running to make more people aware of the problem of illiteracy in the US.
Illiteracy in the USA is a massively controversial topic that’s often debated heatedly, even though most of us are accutely aware of the effects that illiteracy has on the lives of adults and children alike â the social and emotional issues that this can lead to.
So why, unbelievably are some people still not getting the additional help and support they need so they can at last learn to read?
This blog is going to cover some of the keys reasons as to why literacy is so important.
1. Literate Parents Make For Literate Children
If we want to raise children who have strong literacy skills, we ourselves need to have strong literacy skills. Â Of the 93 million adults in the U.S. functioning at or below basic levels of literacy, 30 million are the parents or primary caregivers of children ages 0-8 (National Center for Family Literacy Fact Sheet). Â Parents need to start the process of teaching their child to read before their child starts school. Â Parents need to read to their children, buy their children books, and encourage their children to read. Â Parents who are unable to read, or are not strong readers, will o course read to their children less than parents who enjoy reading. Â Reading in and of itself in this scenario, is fundamental.
2. Being Literate Makes You Top Dog For Employment
If you have the ability to read, you will be a better employee, and have many more opportunities open to you (as well as being able to make more money from your job!). Â Illiteracy and unemployment go hand in hand, with 50% of the chronically unemployed Americanâs not being functionally literate.Â (U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Presentation: Dr. Susan Sclafani, April 2005). Â Employees who can read work better in a team, and are better at communicating with others around them, thereby making them more successful in their roles. Â A rise in of 1% in literacy scores leads to a 2.5% rise in labor productivity and a 1.5% rise in GDP per person.Â (The Economist, August 28, 2004). Not only this, but workers must be able to read safety regulations and warnings so they and their co-workers can stay safe on the job.
On a separate point, if youâre job hunting, you’re far more likely to land the job if you have at least a 2 year college degree. Most positions these days require at least this level of education. Â As if it’s not hard enough as it is to get a job already!
To put this into a bit more perspective…The U.S. Census Bureau reports that âadults 18 and older with a masterâs, professional or doctoral degree earned an average of $79,946, while those with less than a high school diploma earned about $19,915.â Â Thatâs a $60,013 pay difference
3. For the health of you and your family (AKA ‘Health Literacy)
It sounds simple, but for those Americanâs who canât read it is very difficult to understand what the doctor is telling you. Â It can be impossible to work out how much medicine to take, or read information on your own health and your families. Â This includes oral information given by physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and insurers. Â Medication errors in the USAâmany result from a misreading or misunderstood prescription labelsâare the most common medical mistakes causing up to 7,000 deaths each year. (2005 White House Conference on Aging).
Low health literacy costs between $106 billion and $238 billion each year in the U.S. â 7 to 17 per cent of all annual personal health care spending.
4. Literate Voters Make For a Better Political System
The Elections are rolling around again, and we all hear about the need for more Americanâs to be ‘informed Voters’. Â But without the ability to read and write, these Americanâs will not be able to follow the campaign properly and will then be forced make an UNeducated discision as to whom they want to run their country.
One in seven adults in the US cannot read this sentence.(National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 2003). Â So how can they be expected to participate in Democratic Government Elections with the same advantages as someone who can read?
5.Problem Youths and Illiteracy
We are all aware of the statistics connecting crime and illiteracy. Â 85% of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate. (National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 2003)
Low literacyâs effects cost the U.S. $225 billion or more each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment. (ProLiteracy).
Americanâs need to join forces to overcome this issue! Â The most common reason for illiteracy in youths is lack of access to books.
This is something we can easily change together. Â
If you know someone who’s struggling with reading and writing, as part of our ‘Help to Read: Help to Empower’ campaign, we’re offering FREE READING TUITION to as many people as we can, with the resources we have available. Find out more about this opportunity on the left hand bar on this page.