I take literacy for granted. I love to read, always have, always will, but I rarely stop to think about how lucky I am to even be able to read. It doesn’t seem like in this modern, technology-driven age that literacy should be an issue but this is just ignorance. Here are some sobering facts that the Buns & Roses Tea for Literacy organization shared on their website:
- Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Over 70 percent of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level.
- 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read.
- As of 2011, America was the only free-market OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) country where the current generation was less well educated than the previous.
- Literacy is a learned skill. Illiteracy is passed down from parents who can neither read nor write.
- Nearly 85 percent of the juveniles who face trial in the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, proving that there is a close relationship between illiteracy and crime. More than 60 percent of all inmates are functionally illiterate.
- 53 percent of 4th graders admitted to reading recreationally “almost every day,” while only 20 percent of 8th graders could say the same. (2009 study)
- 75 percent of Americans who receive food stamps perform at the lowest 2 levels of literacy, and 90 percent of high school dropouts are on welfare.
- Teenage girls ages 16 to 19 who live at or below the poverty level and have below average literacy skills are 6 times more likely to have children out of wedlock than the girls their age who can read proficiently.
- Reports show that low literacy directly costs the healthcare industry over $70 million every year.
- In 2013, Washington, D.C. was ranked the most literate American city for the third year in a row, with Seattle and Minneapolis close behind.
- Long Beach, CA was ranked the country’s most illiterate city, followed by Mesa, AZ, and Aurora, CO.
Just a quick Google search will bring up tons of local and national literacy organizations that could use your help and support. Don’t take reading for granted. Let’s share the gift of reading with everyone!