Adult Low Literacy and Impact on Future Generations

Eddie Otis Williams, 64, of Detroit dropped out of school after eighth grade to pick cotton to help support his family. When he joined the Dominican Literacy Center tutoring program last fall, he was reading at a third-grade level. Now, he is part of a reading club and is determined to be a role model for his children, Patricia, 5, left, Joshua, 3, and Teresa, 4. KATHLEEN GALLIGAN/Detroit Free Press

Eddie Otis Williams, 64, of Detroit dropped out of school after eighth grade to pick cotton to help support his family. When he joined the Dominican Literacy Center tutoring program last fall, he was reading at a third-grade level. Now, he is part of a reading club and is determined to be a role model for his children, Patricia, 5, left, Joshua, 3, and Teresa, 4. KATHLEEN GALLIGAN/Detroit Free Press

The impact of adult low literacy extends far into future generations.

  • Learning to read begins long before a child enters school. It begins when parents read to their children, buy their children books and encourage their children to read. Parents who are poor readers don’t read as often to their children as do parents who are strong readers; children who are not read to enter school less prepared to learn to read than other children.
  • Children of disadvantaged parents begin their school life behind their peers. Parents with minimal or no reading skills often cannot provide the kind of support their children need to do well in school.
  • Analysis has shown a direct correlation between young people’s test scores and the grade level attained by their parents.

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