Facts about illiteracy: Helping struggling readers

According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), more than 19,000 adults (ages 16 years old and over) in the US alone participated in the study. In fact, more than 1,200 inmates were evaluated in the program. Yes, that’s right, millions of people in the U.S. don’t know how to read or write. These are young adults or seniors who don’t have the capability to read.

In an extensive study compiled in 2003, NAAL informs that more than 30 million Americans who don’t know how to read or write in comparison to studies in 1992. The 2003 study further states that 15% of the total NAAL population did not graduate high school. These are alarming statistics that speak for themselves.


Helping Struggling Readers Succeed

As educators, the responsibility to promote literacy starts at home. Literacy begins at a young age and at home, not just school. No matter the cultural background, students can still learn to read and write. Perhaps, they might have a learning disability that was misdiagnosed or misrepresented. With so many new learning techniques and tools, the struggling reader can learn to read and write. As the National Right to Read Foundation (NRRF) better puts it,

“[t]eaching children to read is the most important objective educators have to accomplish. Reading is a prerequisite for everything else, not only in school but in life itself.”

It all starts at home.

Moreover, these statistics further suggest that young adults are not graduating high school or completing a General Educational Development or better known as G. E. D. program. It’s further represented in a yearly study by the U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. It states that the dropout rate has decreased from 14% (in 1980) to 8.1% (in 2009).

Yet, there’s still more that needs to be done. Enforcing the importance of continuing education and providing the necessary tools to succeed are vital to maintaining those low statistics. There are many programs that are free or low-cost, which can help someone in need of a GED preparation. Students can always find more information at the American Council on Education or their local library.

Finding the right educational tools to prepare for learning to read and write can sometimes be a challenge. But students shouldn’t feel frustrated. Asking for help is the first step in getting closer to learning to read better or improving those reading skills.

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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