By Susie Schechter
Reading Works Executive Director
My 13-year-old daughter recently came homeexcited — she had decided to run for eighth-grade student government. She handed me a three-page document. I scanned it and gave her the signed form granting her permission to run.
I then turned to the computer, called up MapQuest and got directions to my son’s tennis match. Before I headed out the door, my youngest showed me a cut on her knee. I grabbed some ointment, read the instructions and applied it to the wound.
I did all this without a second thought, like so many of us — just a few tasks in our busy lives that involved basic reading skills. But for many others in our area, these simple tasks are overwhelming. That’s because metro Detroit has too many functionally illiterate adults, able to read some words, but not well enough to understand simple forms or instructions.
Reading Works wants to change this. We know that our community is fortunate to have dedicated literacy providers doing amazing work with adult learners. You can read some of their inspiring stories in this section. Despite these providers’ efforts, however, far too many adults are not where they need to be.
Many of you reading this section may be shocked by the number of adults who are unable to do the tasks we take for granted. Somewhere along the way, these adults have gotten lost. And that’s simply not right.
I took this job because I believe in the power of change. I believe that when you set your mind to something, you can make it happen.
That’s what excites me most about Reading Works: that it is addressing an old problem in a new way. It may seem a lofty goal, but I believe that every one of my neighbors should be able to help their children with homework, fill out a job application and read a medicine bottle.
With your help, Reading Works is ready to raise the level of adult literacy in metro Detroit and promote the idea that Reading Works — in the family and in the workplace.