The Issue

Low Literacy Impacts More Than Just the Lives of Those Affected

More Than 36 million Adults in the United States Cannot Read, Write or do Basic Math Above a Third-grade Level.

In Texas alone, 3.8 million adults are without a high school diploma and fewer than 10% of adults in need are receiving services due to long waiting lists for programs focused on this issue. Locally, one in four San Antonio adults reads below a fifth-grade level, rendering them functionally illiterate, and the situation is not improving.

Add to that, adults with low literacy are more likely to live in poverty and have a higher rate of unemployment. The National Council for Adult Learning reports that low literacy costs the U.S. $225 billion or more a year in non-productivity in the workforce, increased crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.

Not only is it readily apparent that illiteracy impacts the lives of individuals, but it also negatively impacts their communities. According to the Literacy Foundation, the higher the proportion of adults with low literacy proficiency, the slower the overall long-term economic growth rate. Additionally, difficulty understanding societal issues lowers the level of community involvement and civic participation, creating a cycle of economic struggle that is difficult to break.

Children whose parents have low literacy levels have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. These children are more likely to get poor grades, display behavioral problems, have high absentee rates, repeat school years, or drop out. They repeat the choices of their parents and compromise their futures.

Our mission at Each One Teach One is to improve the literacy levels of San Antonio’s adult population through individualized curricula and one-on-one tutoring. When individuals gain the knowledge to read, write, use computers and do basic math they are given the tools to better themselves and the lives of their families, lift themselves out of poverty and break the generational cycle.

What can you do to help?