“The Number of American Adults who Are Functionally Illiterate Increases by 2.25 Million each Year.”

Via Kate Bartolotta
on Jul 1, 2012
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It horrifies me.

You want to do something this week to change the world? Help someone learn how to read.

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right…. Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”

~ Kofi Annan

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About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is a wellness cheerleader, yogini storyteller, and self-care maven. She also writes for Huffington Post, Yoga International, Mantra Yoga+ Health, a beauty full mind, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. Kate's books are now available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. She is passionate about helping people fall in love with their lives. You can connect with Kate on Facebook and Instagram.


15 Responses to ““The Number of American Adults who Are Functionally Illiterate Increases by 2.25 Million each Year.””

  1. slsimms says:

    This makes me sad but I'm not exactly sure where the blame goes.

    I have a student that that I speak to occasionally on Google 0, or whatever that's called…and it is tough to read her writing at times. She has dreams of owning her own business and going to college; I want to encourage her.

    Reading has to be instilled early on. Thanks for the reminder Kate!

  2. slsimms says:

    Sorry, I meant to write only one *that* >.<

  3. Yes, I think there are multiple layers of problems here. The U.S. is highest WORLDWIDE when it comes to student self-esteem. Set aside our bullying issues and other things, students self-report a belief that they are much smarter than test scores and studies would indicate. I believe many teachers who are doing wonderful things, but something needs to changes for us as a society. We need to let go of arrogance and fall in love with learning again.

  4. slsimms says:


  5. Howie says:

    We need to get back to the basics: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. It really isn't difficult.

  6. slsimms says:

    Howie…the reality is that kids are so steeped in the 3 R's that the fun of learning has diminished. We've become obsessively outcome based.

    We should be striving for is how to keep young minds engaged so that they can be creative and industrious and giving.

  7. Howie says:

    I know I had a difficult time with math when I was in school. Mostly because I couldn't see how I would use it on a daily basis (beyond basic math). When I joined the Navy after high school, it was like an epiphany as I now suddenly had a use for something that seemed pointless at the time. Algebra, geometry and basic calculus became the norm for me (I never got past Algebra II in school). My point for the above is maybe letting students know that there is a use for these things and how they can apply it in their daily lives. Perhaps this would ignite the fires of creativity again.

  8. slsimms says:

    Agreed that there is a huge disconnect between what is taught and the ability to apply it to real life situations. I think that's why there are such widely varying learning styles and teaching models.

    I think I learned to read to avoid my sister. We would sit at breakfast and have the cereal boxes in front of us. Nothing like reading an ingredient label for Golden Crisps to get the brain going.

  9. I agree to a certain extent. It seems that many schools and school districts (at least at the administrative level—I know some wonderful teachers) are so outcome and score focused, that they have lost sight of their passion for true education. That coupled with the fact that excessive time is taken up with disciplinary issues in many schools leaves any mid-range students in the dust. High performing students with parental support (regardless of race, gender or economics) will do well. Low performing and "problem" students will get plenty of attention and support services. Anyone in the middle gets shuffled along.

    I'm actually less pessimistic about it than it might sound. I am involved in local education initiatives and have been very involved in my children's school district.

  10. Lars says:

    What is the reference sited, #2, for percentage of juvenile offenders functionally illiterate?

  11. John S. Patterson says:

    Notice the proof of the old adage. The presence of the Southern states in this kind of graph is consistent. Why? "You can't keep a man or a woman down in the ditch unless you stay down there with them." Keeping blacks down has made it very difficult for the Euro-descended to rise.

  12. SgtGroovy says:

    You said it, Kate!

  13. marko says:

    Two things: ned to pay more attention to the math scores. We can't do math. 50 million are functionally illiterate, but barely more than 50 million americans are math literate. Too often writers bemoan the lack of literacy, because they themselves can read and write well. But they don't know how to feel about math literacy, because often they are not math literate. When you don't understand mathematical reasoning, you get manipulated by those who do.
    Second, we don't need to sacrifice student self-esteem. That is one area where countries around the world send researchers to learn from our school systems, because it leads to innovation and risk taking in later life.

  14. janesauric says:

    American children are given too much, they like to play their electronic games and they have become lazy.

  15. Judy H. says:

    I can read, unfortunately I cannot read the microscopic print that lists the resources of these facts and figures.