May 19th, 2010

Tim James recently made headlines by suggesting that people who can’t pass the Alabama driver’s test in English would not be safe drivers. But what about all the Alabamians who speak English and just can’t read?

Alabama ranks 37th in reading proficiency, reports the Annie E. Casey Foundation. And according toThe Literacy Council, approximately 1 in 4 of all Alabama adults is functionally illiterate.

Why are we concerned about this? Not because of road signs. Literacy and poverty are directly linked:43% of adults with low literacy skills live in poverty (Birmingham Metro, “Illiteracy’s Devastating Impact on Alabama”). And our literacy woes are directly related to our education system. In a 2007 assessment of 8th graders’ reading levels nationwide, the average student score in Alabama was lower than 48 other states.*

This video from the Literacy Council shows the impact of illiteracy on individuals:

How do we solve this problem?

Posted by Robyn Hyden