According to a whole bunch of different national and state studies on literacy, the following facts are true:
1 – Over 50% of fourth-graders reported reading for fun every day. That number dropped to under 20% by eighth grade.
2 – Nearly 68% of people who could not read fluently by fourth-grade end up in the criminal justice system or on welfare.
3 — 85% of all juvenile offenders can be considered functionally illiterate. 60% of the people in jail are illiterate.
4 — 25% of all children in America grow up without learning how to read proficiently.
A lot of these horrible statistics (and more about correlations between illiteracy and teen pregnancy, welfare, violent crimes, and even health care costs) tie not being able to read with poverty. The logic is obvious. People who drop out of school, struggle in poor schools, and whose time and attention is taken by the day-to-day struggle or urban or poor rural survival have little time or opportunity to sit down with a book.
It’s a vicious cycle that I can imagine solutions to, but, from my comfortable suburban home outside of all these life-truths, can’t really imagine how to implement any of them.
I do know these things to be true:
1 — Reading is necessary to get anywhere in the world, from high school to college, through a job application, to pass a driving test and get a license, to figure out financial statements or legal documents, to know how to stay safe and healthy.
2 — Reading books at the library, from Amazon, and reading articles/posts online can give you an incredible education about many, many topics that can translate into profitable businesses, new ideas, personal growth, and fun.
3 — Nothing can transport and transform people more than the written word. Movies are great, but they are passive entertainment. Reading engages the synapses and makes you think, whether you read the biography of a famous figure, a how-to book about gardening, a classic of literature like Shakespeare or the latest romance novel.
This post is a bit of an introduction to what this site is. It’s not only my love affair with reading spilled out online. It’s an exploration of what reading IS and what it can do for people. I believe in the power of the written word, and I want to share it with others.