Literacy Facts 2019-10-16T12:28:08+00:00

Literacy Facts

  • 37% of children arrive at kindergarten without the skills necessary for lifetime learning. Landry, S. H. (2005). Effective Early Childhood Programs: Turning Knowledge Into Action. Houston, TX: University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston. 
  • Half of children from low-income communities start first grade up to two years behind their peers. Brizius, J. A., & Foster S. A. (1993). Generation to Generation: Realizing the Promise of Family Literacy. High/Scope Press.
  •  Researchers estimate that before ever entering kindergarten, cognitive scores for children of low-income families are likely to average 60 percent lower than those in the highest socioeconomic groups, something that remains true through high school. Lee, V. E. & Burkam, D. T. (2002). Inequality at the starting gate: Social background differences in achievement as children begin school. Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute.
  • 44 million adults are unable to read a simple story to their children.
  •  1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read. WriteExpress Corporation. “Literacy Statistics.” Begin to Read. Accessed April 16, 2014.
  •  The sad truth is that the vast majority of children who start behind, stay behind, leading to an increase in our nation’s dropouts rate among low-income and minority students. America’s Early Childhood. Jumpstart, 2009
  •  There is almost a 90% probability that a child will remain a poor reader at the end of the fourth grade if the child is a poor reader at the end of first grade. Boyer, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
  • Children who aren’t reading at grade level by the end of third grade are four times as likely to drop out of high school. Donald J. Hernandez, Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation. The Annie E. Casey Foundation; Center
  • Low achievement as early as fourth grade is a powerful predictor of high school and college graduation rates, as well as lifetime earnings. McKinsey & Company (April 2009). The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s schools. Washington, D.C.
  • Each dropout, over his or her lifetime, costs the nation approximately $260,000. Rouse, C.E. (2005). “Labor market consequences of an inadequate education.” Paper prepared the Social Costs of Inadequate Education symposium, Teachers College Columbia University. October 2005.
  • Illiteracy costs American taxpayers an estimated $20 billion each year.
  • Approximately 50% of Americans read so poorly that they are unable to perform simple tasks such as reading prescription drug labels.
  • 78% of juvenile crime is committed by high school dropouts. “Literacy Research.” National Children’s Reading Foundation.
  • Surveys of adolescents and young adults with criminal records show that about half have reading difficulties. Similarly, about half of youths with a history of substance abuse have reading problems. National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities. (1998). Children with reading disability. Washington, D.C.: Robert Bock.
  • Poor reading skills increase the chances of becoming a teen mom. In one study, 21% of girls with below average reading skills had a child in their early teens, compared to 5% of girls who rated above average.
  • Proficient third-grade readers are nearly five times more likely to graduate high school than their peers with below-basic-reading skills.
  • As many as 75% of welfare recipients struggle to read even the simplest texts.