Illiteracy in the United States: A Bigger Issue Than Most Think

Did you know that there are upwards of 36 million adults in the United States that can’t read, write or do math above a third-grade level? Illiteracy is a surprisingly large issue in the United States.

Reading is something many of us take advantage of.

What causes illiteracy?

Students, Classroom, School, Sad, Education, Young

You might be wondering how someone is illiterate but it’s actually not all that uncommon, even in today’s day and age. Adult illiteracy is typically caused by;

  • Parents who are illiterate or have little schooling
  • Lack of books and reading materials in the house when growing up
  • Little understanding of readings importance
  • Doing very poorly in school or even dropping out
  • Learning disabilities, such as dyslexia

Parents have an extremely strong impact on a child’s literacy level. Children with parents who have low literacy levels have a 72% chance of also having low literacy levels.

What aspects of life does illiteracy impact?

Survey, Opinion Research, Voting, Fill, Vote, Hand

Close your eyes and think of all of the things you need to be able to read for. Outside of the obvious not being able to read a recipe or a comic book, illiteracy can hinder so many other things many of us view as human rights.

Things such as; voting, paying bills, banking, and dealing with things like mortgages.

“It doesn’t just have a negative effect on that person’s life but on the overall health and well-being of our country,” says Professor Leigh A. Hall.

Illiteracy is Multigenerational


Child, Girl, Young, Caucasian, Childhood, DaughterIt all begins with the attitude. If a child’s parents can’t read, they’re likely to discourage their child from reading. Concordia University – Portland suggests that it stems from the parent’s frustration with their own illiteracy. Illiterate parents tend to avoid literacy involved, enriching activities.

Are you illiterate for life?

Book, Human, Adults, Literature, Hand, Woman, Hands

Many illiterate people struggle with finding the worth in literacy as it typically goes unaddressed for some time.

However, it’s never too late! At 69 years-old Normal Annex told Vice, he’s happy that he has the time now to finally learn.

If someone you know is ready to start learning, check out Cudoo’s online English courses!

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