A Matter of Opportunity
At Literacy for Life, we know that illiteracy or low literacy can limit a person’s opportunities in life. Even seemingly simple tasks like helping a child with homework or reading a medicine bottle can remain out of reach if you can’t read or speak English. But it doesn’t have to be that way, because Literacy for Life can help.
Literacy for Life opens up a variety of new opportunities for people, including:
Handling daily tasks with increased independence
Completing high school
Getting a job
Receiving a promotion at work
Passing the U.S. citizenship exam
Passing the driver’s license test
Handling personal finances
Reading to children and helping with homework
Talking to doctors with new-found confidence
Better literacy also means a chance to participate fully in community activities for the first time.
Literacy in the Community
Low literacy or lack of English language skills is at the root of the most pressing problems facing many members of our community, including poverty, crime, and poor health outcomes. Thousands of adults in our community are prevented from pursuing their dreams due to poor literacy:
Nearly 3,500 adults in Williamsburg and James City County, and more than 106,000 in Hampton Roads, have below basic literacy—meaning they struggle to read simple instructions or complete common forms. (National Center for Educational Statistics estimate)
More than 13,000 people in James City and York Counties were born outside of the United States, and more than 3,500 of them are not yet U.S. citizens. (2010 American Community Survey)
How big a problem is low adult literacy?
Number of adults in the U.S. who can't read, write, or do basic math above a third-grade level
Among immigrants only half are proficient English speakers
Estimated health care costs a year linked to low adult literacy skills
A mother's reading skill is the greatest determinant of her children’s future academic success, outweighing other factors, such as neighborhood and family income.
Workers who have less education than a high school diploma have the lowest median weekly earnings ($592), three times less than the highest level of education
Incarcerated individuals who participate in correctional education programs are 43% less likely to recidivate than inmates who do not.