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The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) defines literacy as “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”

The reading and writing tutors at REACH Pro Tutoring can attest to the fact that without literacy skills, children cannot possibly hope to achieve their full potential. Literacy prepares students and adults for gainful employment so that they may provide for their families, live a healthy lifestyle, and avoid crime. Additionally, literacy gives people access to information that allows them to become active members of their communities and assert their rights as human beings.

Although reading and writing are the foundation for all education, the United States is experiencing major social issues due to the widespread lack of literacy skills. We’ve compiled 10 sobering facts about literacy in America to bring to light the effects that illiteracy has on our country.

  1. Illiteracy and crime are closely related. The Department of Justice found that over 70% of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level. Even further, penal institution records show that inmates have a 16% chance of returning to prison if they receive literacy help, as opposed to 70% who receive no help. This equates to taxpayer costs of $25,000 per year per inmate.
  1. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 90% of welfare recipients are high school dropouts, and 3 out of 4 food stamp recipients perform in the lowest 2 literacy levels.
  1. Women especially experience major obstacles to achieving their future success when they lack literacy skills. On the Begin To Read website, it states that 16 to 19 year old girls at the poverty level and below with below average reading skills are 6 times more likely to have out-of-wedlock children than their peers.
  1. The National Commission of Adult Literacy found that as of 2011, America was the only free-market OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) country in which the current generation was less educated than the previous one.
  1. Our credentialed reading tutors know that the 4th grade is the turning point for many students and their literacy skills. The Begin To Read website’s literacy statistics states that If a child is not reading proficiently in the 4th grade, he or she will have approximately a 78% chance of never catching up. Additionally, 2 out of 3 of these students will end up in jail or on welfare.
  1. In a 2013 study conducted by Central Connecticut State University, Washington, D.C., was ranked as the most literate American city for the third year in a row, closely followed by Seattle and Minneapolis. The nation’s most illiterate city in 2013 was Long Beach, CA.
  1. According to the Department of Education, in 2009 only 53% of 4th graders admitted to reading recreationally “almost every day”. Only 20% of 8th graders claimed the same.
  1. According to UNICEF, nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their name, and two thirds of them were women.
  1. The effects of low literacy in the United States carry a hefty price tag. According to estimates by the United States Department of Labor, the costs are approximately $225 billion each year; due mostly to non-productivity in the work force, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.
  1. Although many United States patriots claim that we are “The Greatest Country in the World”, according to the fightilliteracy.org website, the our nation ranked fifth on adult literacy skills when compared to other industrialized nations.

The credentialed reading and writing tutors at REACH Pro Tutoring are trained to help your child develop the literacy skills they will need to become healthy and productive adults. If your student is struggling with reading or writing, don’t wait! Contact us today to see how our individualized instruction can help your student become a skilled lifelong reader.