National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week helps raise awareness about a forgotten and hidden problem in our community, adult illiteracy. An estimated 36 million Americans cannot read, write or do basic math above a third grade level. They struggle every day. In metro Richmond, one in seven people cannot read this blog, their mail, prescriptions, job applications or help their children with homework.
It is easy to forget about adult illiteracy. The majority of people learn to read by the third grade and it becomes second nature.
It is easy to hide the problem. Illiterate adults are often ashamed and embarrassed that they cannot read. They hide their illiteracy, compensate for it and try to deal with it until they no longer can. Then they come to adult literacy programs like The READ Center for help.
Literacy touches almost all aspects of our lives, education, health, workforce development, housing and poverty. The issue that it profoundly and lastly impacts is parenting. Parents who cannot read cannot teach their children to read. Research shows that focusing on educating children without also addressing their parents’ needs for basic education and training will not solve the academic achievement gap.
Children whose parents have low literacy levels have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. Families become locked in a cycle of illiteracy and poverty that is hard to break.
How can you help?
- Join The READ Center and literacy organizations across the nation on Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness of the issues of illiteracy. For facts and information about the problem, click here.
- Become a READ Center volunteer tutor. Helping adults learn to read is a very rewarding experience. It will change the student’s life and yours.
- Give. The READ Center is a community-based, non-profit organization supported by donations. Our services are free to adults in our community who need help. Your gift, no matter the size, is appreciated.
Please look for tomorrow’s post by a READ Center student, Beyond “What If”, Johanna’s story. Here is an except:
“I graduated with a C average. For a couple of years I just goofed off. I wanted to go to work, but I could not fill out an application because I could not read….”