Literacy is defined as being able to read and write proficiently in the major language of your area or country. In the United States, this language is considered to be English. That being said, it is estimated that 21 - 23% of adults (about 40 to 44 million) in the United States are at or below a Reading Level of 2. Level 1 suggests that persons within this group have difficulty and are often unable to read basic information necessary for day-to-day activities; such as locating the time and place for a meeting on a slip of paper or adding up the total on a deposit slip. Level 2 states that persons within this group can read simple documents similar to those mentioned above, They are also able to write down their background information, and can do simple math such as finding totals on a deposit slip. These persons registering at Level 2 were still unable to put basic problem-solving skills to use. When tested, they were unable to make more complex inferences from what they were reading. 62% of those in Level 1 had not completed high school. Very few people in both groups believed they were at risk. In fact, many of them stated that they believed they were proficient in English. (click here for more info on this study).
Locally, it is estimated that overall, 8% of adults in Michigan do not have basic literacy skills, (which ranks lower than most other states in the country). In Genesee county, specifically, about 10% of adults do not have proficient literacy skills. This statistic also fails to in-cooperate groups of students that are left behind in school systems never retaining the proper literacy levels to excel and graduate. Many schools are now developing programs that assist youth with reaching higher levels of literacy. Most of these programs are local but there are also National campaigns in motion.
There’s a lot that a compassionate community can do for people that have been left behind or have lost their way in literacy skill building. While this may not come in the form of a large corporation or a non-profit organization; it can derive from simple actions by family and friends. If you are a parent, amid all of the other distractions and responsibilities placed upon you, allow reading and writing to top your priority list. Simple actions such as, reading before bed, can go a long way. Be sure to discuss what you've read and look for any type of comprehension. Build from there!
If you’re someone who knows an adult who is attempting to get back into school but is having trouble with reading the course material, possibly find a program in the area that assists adults with these types of issues. . If you could improve the life of someone close to you, take that opportunity. I can guarantee that you will never regret helping someone you care about. - GC