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  • Susan Stoderl

Calling all Writers and Readers | Literacy Facts

In our current society, there are many attacks upon our primary, secondary, and college educational systems, book banning, library closings, and pushing social conformity through a constant onslaught of media influence. We should ensure that kids learn to read at the highest level they can achieve.

To insure their well-being, they need to think critically for themselves—to know to ask if what they are being told and hearing is true or false. To build a loving or at least respectful community, literacy is essential. One cannot express an idea or concept, or indeed even think, without having the words to do so.

Here are some statistics which I culled from data found at the National Literature Institute in various categories:

In Schools:

  • Approximately 40% of students across the nation cannot read at a basic level.

  • Almost 70% of low-income fourth-grade students cannot read at a basic level. In North Carolina where I reside, 49% of upper-income students can’t read any better.

  • 60% of the behavioral problems occur during reading assignments—group or independently.

  • 50% of the unemployed between the ages of 16 and 21 cannot read well enough to be considered functionally literate

Among Adults:

  • 21% of adults in the U.S. are illiterate in 2022

  • 54% of adults have literacy below the 6th-grade level

  • 20% of Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage

  • 130 million adults now cannot read a simple story to their children

  • Approximately 50% of Americans read so poorly that they cannot perform simple tasks such as reading prescription drug labels

  • 45 million are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th-grade level

  • 3 out of 4 people on welfare can’t read

Being literate is the only thing that allowed me to escape from a life I would not have liked. I have had three careers that required education through the graduate degree level. This has given me financial security and allowed me to have many beautiful thoughts, ideas, and experiences.


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