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What Causes Illiteracy?

As you know, Literacy New York supports adult literacy initiatives, working with literacy groups throughout New York State. You may wonder though—Why are adults illiterate? What causes illiteracy? Here are some of the most frequent causes of illiteracy in adults:

  • Parents with little schooling;
  • Lack of books at home and lack of stimulation as to the importance of reading;
  • Doing badly at or dropping out of school—many have not completed high school;
  • Difficult living conditions, including poverty;
  • Learning disabilities, such as dyslexia

Most often, "illiteracy in individuals stems from different, generally inter-related causes which, together, create a series of often insurmountable barriers for those concerned."(Literacy Foundation)

The good news is that illiteracy is a solvable problem, and the partner organizations that we work with can "cure illiteracy". There is hope for everyone, and it begins with the first step—linking up with an adult literacy organization.