Basic academic skills such as reading and writing, as well as reading comprehension skills or understanding what has been read, not only prepare adults for employment, these skills also make it possible for adults to communicate and understand instructions like highway directions and medicine directions. What many may not realize is that, by having basic academic or literacy skills, adults can also improve their self-esteem.
22 Percent of American Adults have Below Basic Literacy Skills
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics’ 2003 study, approximately 22 percent of American adults had below basic literacy skills. Many of these adults are functionally illiterate in that they are able to read enough to be able to perform menial tasks. Although adults who are functionally illiterate can get jobs, their low education levels often keep them stuck in low paying jobs, often creating a cycle of poverty for their families.
Despite this news and regardless of how old illiterate adults are, they can learn to read, write and perform basic and complex math problems. In fact, with dedication, commitment and training, these adults can go on to earn General Equivalency Diplomas (GEDs), enroll in college and graduate with degrees.
Some adult literacy programs that work with trained professionals who are ready to teach adults basic literacy skills are:
- Libraries (some libraries offer free adult literacy programs)
- Aclamo Family Centers
- Adult Development and Literacy Program
- State adult education programs
- Community colleges
- Pro Literacy
- National Coalition for Literacy
- National Commission on Adult Literacy
One adult who cannot read, write and perform basic math problems is one adult too many. Literacy impacts too many areas of a person’s life for local, state and national education systems to become complacent about the academic status of each of its residents. But ultimately, the responsibility for ensuring that they know how to read, write and do basic math computations rest on the shoulders of each adult, especially adults living in countries that mandate that youth attend school. Adults who didn’t grasp basic literacy skills during their secondary school years are encouraged to contact local adult literacy programs so they can work with mentors and tutors to gain the very skills that can help them to get hired into better paying jobs, gain the skills to help their children succeed in school and improve their self-esteem.
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http://www.literacydirectory.org (Literacy Information and Communication System)
http://www.caliteracy.org/nil (CA Literacy)