Press Kit Literacy Facts

 

Literacy Facts

 

  • According to the Reading First section of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, reading is defined as "a complex system of deriving meaning from print that requires all of the following: (a) The skills and knowledge to understand how phonemes, or speech sounds, are connected to print; (b) The ability to decode unfamiliar words; (c) The ability to read fluently; (d) Sufficient background information and vocabulary to foster reading comprehension; (e) The development of appropriate active strategies to construct meaning from print; and (f) The development and maintenance of a motivation to read."

  • The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and the National Literacy Act of 1991 define literacy as "an individual's ability to read, write, speak in English, compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job, in the family of the individual and in society."

  • The traditional concept or definition of literacy is simply "an individual's ability to read."

  • The following information is cited in a report, "Adolescent Literacy and Older Students with Learning Disabilities," written in June 2008, by the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities. The report can be accessed through the LD.OnLine.orgWebsite.

    • 36% of 4th graders and 27% of 8th graders in the U.S. read below proficiency.

    • 26% of 12th grade students do not demonstrate a fundamental ability to communicate in writing.

    • 21% of students with learning disabilities are estimated to be five or more grade levels below in reading.

    • An estimated 31.6% of students with learning disabilities have left high school without a diploma (as compared to 9.4% of students without disabilities).

    • Only 11% of students (as compared to 53% of students without disabilities) have attended a four-year postsecondary program within two years of leaving high school.

    • 25 fastest growing professions have greater than average print and digital literacy demands.

    • The fastest declining professions have lower than average literacy demands.

  • One out of every 5 of our nation's school-age children suffer from reading failures. (Source: Lyons. RG. "Measuring Success: using Assessments and Accountability to Raise Student Achievement"; State before the Subcommittee on Education Reform, Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives; March 8, 2001.)

  • A majority of all poor readers have an early history of spoken-language deficits. A recent study reported that 73% of 2nd grade poor readers had phonemic awareness or spoken language problems in kindergarten. (Source: Catts, HW, Fey, MD, Zhang, X & Tomblin, JB. "Language basis of reading disabilities: Evidence from a longitudinal investigation"; Scientific Studies of Reading; 1999; 3:331-361.)

  • A child who is not a fluent reader by 4th grade is likely to struggle with reading into adulthood. Today, 41% of fourth grade boys and 35% of fourth grade girls read below the basic level, and in low-income urban schools this figure approaches 70%. (Source: National Center for Education Statistics - 1998.)

  • Poor reading and writing skills have a devastating lifelong impact - 75% of school dropouts report reading problems, and at least half of adolescents and young adults with criminal records have reading difficulties. (Source: Lyons. RG. "Measuring Success: using Assessments and Accountability to Raise Student Achievement"; State before the Subcommittee on Education Reform, Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives; March 8, 2001.) Fortunately, this scenario can be changed with proper identification and intervention. (Source: Fletcher, JM, Lyon, RG. "What's Gone Wrong in America's Classrooms", Evers, WM; Hoover Institution Press; 1998.)