Consider the amount of text you’ve encountered today: signs, instructions, emails… this article. Imagine not being able to read any of it.
For the 774 million teens and adults globally who lack crucial literacy skills, this is an everyday reality. In the US alone, 70% of high school students need some form of reading remediation. Of these, 20% haven’t developed even basic reading proficiency by graduation.
Students in low-income communities, ethnic minorities, English Language Learners, and those with disabilities all suffer from low literacy skills at especially high rates. In fact, only 13% of African-American and 16% of Hispanic-American 4th graders score at the proficient level in reading. Low literacy skills not only limit opportunities, they also create a cycle that is hard to break, impacting global rates of incarceration, health problems, poverty, and gender inequality.
And here’s the extra tricky part: it is entirely impossible for someone to become a stronger reader if they don’t spend time practising. One must read in order to improve one’s reading skills.