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  • Susan Stoderl

Beyond the Books Literacy Podcast | Debuting July 25, 3:00 p.m. on YouTube (@writer_SusanStoderl)

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Literacy is no longer defined as just reading, writing, and arithmetic. It now includes digital, financial, and cultural literacy, to name a few.

Beyond the Books | The Language of Success hosts timely information on the state of the various literacies in the U.S. Solo and guest interviews feature writers, teachers, librarians, psychologists, social workers, businesspeople, life skills coaches, prison educators, ESL facilitators, and those who work with parent + child reading. Beyond the Books examines literacy from a statistical and academic point of view, as well as those who deal with literacy issues daily.


There are multi-pronged attacks on public education at all levels of age, books, libraries, and teachers. Across the nation, politically motivated legislation is demanding total social conformity, regardless of a person’s belief system, race, or sexual orientation. As a society, we need to ensure that kids learn to read at the highest level they can achieve. Critical thinking is essential to securing both an adult’s and a child’s well-being. Can they distinguish whether what they are being told or reading is true or false? Literacy is essential to building a loving or at least respectful community. Without words, understanding and expressing concepts is impossible.

In 2022 America,

  • 21% of adults were illiterate,

  • 54% read below the 6th-grade level,

  • 20% read below the level needed to earn a living wage, and

  • 50% couldn’t perform simple tasks, such as reading prescription drug labels.

I also have a personal reason for advocating for literacy. My passion for reading from preschool age throughout high school became a gateway to escaping a repressive life. Through my literacy and education, I moved into a world that allowed me three different careers—singing opera, composing and writing the librettos for three operas and four song cycles, and now, writing and publishing middle-grade books. I also gained a degree of acceptable financial security and many beautiful thoughts, ideas, and experiences in a much wider and more diverse world.

1 Comment

Keith McBee
Keith McBee
Jul 20, 2023

This looks very exciting. Looking forward!

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