International Literacy Day is tomorrow! (September 8th)

So, tomorrow is International Literacy Day and that’s very, very cool, but just a single literacy day isn’t enough to begin to fix the problems caused by illiteracy in America, much less the world.

Have you seen some of the statistics on illiteracy in America? Its scary!
(All statistics taken from the Literacy Project Foundation.)

“The Nation

  • In a study of literacy among 20 ‘high income’ countries; US ranked 12th
    • Yet another area where we delude ourselves into believing Americans are best, and yet we’re not even close.  Is this even due to a money issue? Or simply a ‘who cares’ issue?
  • Illiteracy has become such a serious problem in our country that 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their children
    • I literally can’t even imagine this. Can. not. IMAGINE. this. Do you realize how heartbreakingly sad this is? Not only for the children who can’t get read to, but for the parents themselves. Everyone should know how to read!!
  • 50% of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level
    • 50 percent. FIFTY percent can’t do more than basic reading!
  • 45 million are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level
    • You realize what this means? This means they could barely read Harry Potter. Heck, even “Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing” might be beyond their grasp. 
  • 44% of the American adults do not read a book in a year
    • As someone who reads almost obsessively, I can’t imagine going a whole year and not reading a single book. If you can read, what’s your excuse for not reading? If you can make time to watch Reality TV trash, you can make time to read. 
    • If this is because the people can’t read…What can we do? I wish I could teach people how to read! (My 6 year old seems to have taught herself from getting read to all the time.)
  • 6 out of 10 households do not buy a single book in a year
    • I’m just going to delude myself into thinking this is because they just utilize their library. “

Yeah, it also affects more than just their ability to read to their kids by the way. Check out these additional statistics from the Literacy Project Foundation:

“The Economy

    • 3 out of 4 people on welfare can’t read
    • 20% of Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage
    • 50% of the unemployed between the ages of 16 and 21 cannot read well enough to be considered functionally literate
    • Between 46 and 51% of American adults have an income well below the poverty level because of their inability to read
  • Illiteracy costs American taxpayers an estimated $20 billion each year
  • School dropouts cost our nation $240 billion in social service expenditures and lost tax revenues”

That’s just….staggering, and for the fact that I love to read, I feel completely utterly small and helpless.