The Edwards Agency

Opinion

Illiteracy affects entire community

illiteracy Illiteracy is a growing problem in our community. According to the U.S. Department of Education, one in five American adults is functionally illiterate, that is, unable to use reading, writing, and computation skills in everyday situations.
   It's not surprising that 44% of American adults don't even read one book in the course of a whole year, when you hear statistics like the average American adult watches over 30 hours of television a week.
   I think that every American family needs to examine how we prioritize our time. Before we turn on the TV, we should stop and ask ourselves, wouldn't reading a good book to your child or even to yourself be a much more rewarding choice? Especially since children whose parents are functionally illiterate are twice as likely as their peers to be functionally illiterate.
   Illiteracy is not an isolated problem. It occurs everywhere: in small towns, suburbs, and rural and urban areas. Because 2.2 million Americans are added to the illiterate list every year, it's time we put an end to this growing problem. Ways that you can make a difference include volunteering to tutor at a local school or at a literacy council near you.
   But the first step we can all do occurs right in our own homes. It is reducing the amount of time watching TV and increasing the amount of time reading.
   Many people think that illiteracy just affects the classroom and someone's learning environment, not the community, but when 60% of America's inmates are illiterate, and 85% of juvenile offenders are having problems with reading, it makes you stop and think what our country would be like if more people were literate.

Mary Norwalk, Bothell