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The National Institute for Literacy – Stats and Resources

The United States is a highly-literate country, but many individuals, both children and adults, slip through the education system. Immigrants have a particularly difficult time learning to read a new language. Many children are spending less time reading and more time watching television or playing video games which is also adding to the problem of illiteracy. Adults have such busy schedules that many cannot find the time to read for their own pleasure or to generate interest in reading among their children. Because less reading is being done by adults, its importance is being lost on the next generation. Without reading programs that encourage practice, people of all ages cannot progress and become truly literate.

There are three types of literacy. Prose literacy is the ability to read and comprehend documents with continuous text, such as newspaper articles and instructions. Document literacy is the ability to read and understand documents with non-continuous text, such as job applications, maps, and transportation schedules. Quantitative literacy is the ability to perform computations, such as reviewing a bill or balancing a checkbook. These three types of literacy cover the types of reading that people need to do to be functional on a daily basis. Because each type of literacy is unique, instructors such as those at the National Institute of Literacy understand that reading programs must be developed for each one.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, about 22% of American adults have minimal literacy skills. Some are functionally illiterate in that they can read some words but not enough to understand simple forms or instructions. Nearly two-thirds of this group did not complete their education through high school. Many of this group are immigrants, others have visual difficulties, while others have other physical, mental, or psychological conditions. Adult with low literacy levels are more likely to be homeless or unemployed, or hold very low paying jobs.

It is a benefit to the individual and society as a whole to increase literacy levels through education and practice. There are many organizations that offer information on literacy and literacy programs for different types of people.

The National Institute for Literacy is a federally-funded organization that is committed to literacy programs, research on literacy rates, and learning techniques. The Institute provides programs that benefit all people, from early childhood to adults. The literacy center has programs available for all reading levels, and for adults who are learning English as a second language. For more information on the National Institute for Literacy and its reading programs, please visit their web site .

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy is a program to quantify the literacy rate among American adults over the age of 16. During the 2003 assessment, data was been collected from over 19,000 Americans from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and a selection of incarcerated people to determine literacy rates in the prison population. The results of the National Assessment of Adult Literacy provide a clear picture of literacy among many different demographics within the American population. To learn more about the assessment, please visit their web site.

Literacy programs provide innumerable benefits to the individual. People with higher degrees of literacy are more likely to complete their education and to obtain higher paying jobs. Increases in literacy lead to higher self esteem and a willingness to participate in community groups. It is in the best interest of the individual and society provide and support resources and literacy programs like those provided by The National Institute for Literacy the to improve the literacy levels throughout our communities.