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Why is Adult Literacy Important?

People really care about kids. Kids and puppies. Kittens too. They're cute—warm and fuzzy. You look at their pictures and they make you smile.

People don't care so much about adults who can't read. Sad but true.

Adult Literacy is really important though—and if you can't see it from the perspective of helping adults, consider it from the perspective of helping kids. Kids have far greater chances for success when their parents are good readers.

Helping parents learn to read, learn to speak English or learn to read and write better has a far reaching impact, now and in generations to come. Parents are key reading role models. High frequency reading parents are six times more likely to have high frequency reading kids. The more value placed on reading in a household better prepares students to be successful in school.

Increasing parental literacy helps their children in many other ways. When adults improve their literacy skills, their children have fewer nutrition and health problems, drop out of school less, and have fewer teen pregnancies, less joblessness, and less social alienation. Literacy programs also significantly reduce welfare dependence. 80% of US literacy programs reported a reduction in welfare dependence among their students. (U.S. Adult Literacy Programs: 2003)

Illiteracy is truly a family issue, affecting parent and child. The work we do at Literacy New York—through our provider network—helps create literate families.

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