The Voice of Literacy in Central Oklahoma

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Impacts on Literacy

Family Literacy

National Education Association research reports: The family makes critical contributions to student achievement from preschool through high school. A home environment that encourages learning is more important to student achievement than income, education level or cultural background.

The concept of Family Literacy is rooted in a substantial research base from several disciplines including adult literacy, emergent literacy and child development. The Padak/Rasinski 2003 summary of research-based benefits of family literacy include:

Children’s Benefits
  • Student achievement improves with increased parent involvement in education
  • Children attend school more regularly with increased parent involvement
  • The learning environment in the home accounts for more than half the variance in children’s IQ scores.
  • Children’s social skills and attitudes toward school improve
  • Children’s reading vocabulary improves
  • Children’s writing improves
  • Children are healthier
Parents’ Benefits
  • Parents persist in family literacy programs longer than in other types of adult literacy programs creating more opportunities to learn
  • Parents’ attitudes about education improve increasing the value that they perceive in education
  • Parents’ reading achievement increases due to persistence in programming
  • Parents’ knowledge about parenting options and child development increases
  • Parents enhance their employment status or job satisfaction
Families’ Benefits
  • Families learn to value education
  • Families become more involved in schools
  • Families become emotionally closer creating a supportive home environment
  • Families read more building foundations for lifelong learning

For further information or to read the report go to

Adult Literacy and ESOL

In Reach Higher, America: Overcoming the Crisis in the U.S. Workforce (2008), the research on workforce literacy is summarized bluntly: “America‘s workforce is compromised by a lagging K-12 education system, a significant increase in immigration from non-English speaking countries, and an adult education system that is now obsolete and ill-equipped to meet the 21st century needs.” The report states the following:

  • More than 88 million adults have at least one major educational barrier( no high school diploma, no college, or ESL language needs)
  • Adult education, training, and ESL programs reach only about 3 million
  • The U.S. is the only country among 30 OECD free-market countries where the current generation is less well-educated than the previous one.
  • Every year, one in three young adults drop out of high school (1.2 million)
  • One in four U.S. working families is low-income, and one in five children live in poverty
  • One in every 100 U.S. adults 16 and older is in prison or jail (2.3 million) and 43 per cent do not have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • 50% of American’s immigrants have low literacy levels and lack high school education

Read the report:

A 2010 Department of Labor report provides a look at the future for those without the necessary education and basic skills:

  • The unemployment rate for dropouts age 25 and older was 14.6% in 2009 compared to an unemployment rate of 9.7% for high school graduates/GED recipients who did not go to college.(U.S. Dept. of Labor, 2010)
  • The average male dropout in 2008 earned $27,553.00. High school grads with no college earned $39,835.00
  • On average, each dropout over his or her lifetime will cost the nation about $260,000.00 in lost earnings, taxes and productivity.

A United Healthcare, Secure Horizons study reports that, “at the individual level, low literacy was reported to be associated with greater shame and frustration, greater poverty and unemployment, poorer health and health care access.

Out-Of-School Youth

National Education Association‘s Dropout Action Steps:

  1. Mandate high school graduation or equivalency as compulsory for everyone below the age of 21.
  2. Establish high school graduation centers for students 19-21 years old
  3. Make sure students receive individual attention
  4. Expand students’ graduation options through creative partnerships with community colleges in career and technical fields and with alternative schools
  5. Increase career education and workforce readiness programs in schools
  6. Act early so students do NOT drop out
  7. Involve families in students’ learning at school and at home
  8. Make high school graduation a federal priority

Reconnecting youth requires collaboration and coordination among multiple youth-serving systems: these certainly include school and youth employment and training programs, but also child protective service systems, the juvenile justice system, and a variety of health and human services agencies, such as mental health and substance abuse treatment agencies, crisis intervention centers, runaway and homeless youth shelters, and others.

Corrections Literacy

National Commission on Adult Literacy, 2008). Research suggests that education in prison is a major way to increase employment rates for those released and reduce their likelihood of committing future crimes. The 2003 NAAL report indicated that 19% of inmates had achieved a GED while incarcerated and a further five percent were enrolled in programs that might lead to a GED.

Health Literacy

Research by the Institute of Medicine and Healthy People 2010 identifies the range of health issues that are impacted by those with limited literacy. In addition, many people with higher literacy in reading and writing still lack essential health knowledge and skills necessary for a healthier life. The 2003 NAAL executive summary, The Health Literacy of America‘s Adults, notes that 53% of adults surveyed had intermediate levels of health literacy and 14% had below basic levels. Only 12% were deemed proficient. “Health literacy is of concern to everyone involved in health promotion and protection, disease prevention, and early screening, health care maintenance and policy making.” (Institute of Medicine, 2004).

Financial Literacy

Research highlighting Americans‘ alarming lack of financial skills has led to action in recent years at the highest levels of government. The current mortgage crisis highlights many of these issues. In 2003 Congress created the Financial Literacy and Education Commission through the Financial Literacy and Education Improvement Act of 2003, which was followed by the National Strategy on Financial Literacy in 2006 and the President‘s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. Despite the federal government‘s policy to help keep America competitive and assist people in understanding and addressing financial matters, there is still a widespread lack of financial literacy among the American people.


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