The Illiteracy Problem in America

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The Illiteracy Problem in America It continues to be a big problem with the ranks swelling each year. Although safety nets are everywhere, illiteracy is still abundant. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, in 1998, ten million children between seven and eleven years of age performed below the most basic level of reading achievement. Illiteracy is not limited to children, teenagers, adults, a particular socio-economic level, or a particular race. When George, now 68, was a child he moved frequently because his father ran a small circus. He never stayed in one place long enough to learn how to read. Finally, he quit school, never to return. Now after retirement, he has decided to learn how to read. He arrived at the library reading room to find the door was locked. The sign indicated that a key was available at the information desk, but George did not know what the sign said. So he sat down and waited several hours for someone to open the door. Meh Chin from China, the mother of a third grader, is interested in communicating better with her children, who have already become fluent in English at an early age. Literacy programs should be an integral component of every community. Not only do these programs serve adults and foreigners, but they also serve those that live with the problems of poverty throughout their daily lives. In 2000-2001, 15.7% of students missed 21 or more days during the school year. Students who miss many days of school because of illnesses beyond their control often fall behind in their studies. Many literacy programs help these students excel in what otherwise would have been a deficiency in their learning. Opportunities abound to stamp out illiteracy at the federal, state, and local level. Are these enough? For those in need, maybe not. Most everyone’s needs are unique. National Family Literacy Program helps those families nationwide with literacy problems. In our own state of Florida, Governor Jeb Bush has set up the Governor’s Mentoring Initiative Program which has helped over 9,000 adults and children improve their reading programs.

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