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Learning to read and write

Learning to read and write well is crucial in our society. According to Failure to Launch from The Center for Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, almost two thirds of jobs in the United States require at least some college studies in 2020, yet according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, only one half of Americans can read above an eighth grade level, and only 15% can read college level material.

In terms of lost productivity, the Georgetown University study estimates that the portion of the population that can’t read costs the nation a staggering $225 billion each year. When patients lack basic reading skills, it costs the health care system an additional $100 billion annually. Illiteracy drives crime and its associated costs: about 70% of inmates score at the lowest level for reading. Companies can’t find Americans with the literacy qualifications they need, driving them to hire immigrants, to de-skill jobs and reduce salaries, and to send jobs overseas.

Existing approaches and programs for learning to read and write are simply not adequate to solve the problem. Every year, almost 20% of U.S. high school grads haven’t developed even the most basic reading proficiency by the time they don their caps and gowns. Only 34% can actually read proficiently at grade level by graduation, leaving another 2.4 million functionally illiterate adults joining the workforce, the prison system and the Welfare rolls. The 50 states and the federal government provide only 2 million Adult Basic Education (ABE) slots per year: less than 2% of what’s needed. And, the average ABE student stays in their program for only 4 ½ weeks due to family and job responsibilities, health issues and emotional blocks.

The solution is family learning. When family members learn together, they are much more likely to succeed.