The Illiteracy Issue


Yours Humanly

March 15, 2020

The Illiteracy Issue

We should never underestimate the value of a good book. Books can do everything from transporting a student to a distant universe to inspiring them to start their own business. When we introduce the love of reading to a child, we are instilling the love of learning. Unfortunately, many children do not have access to these books. And, even worse, many children in countries all over the world are illiterate and cannot enjoy the benefits that books can bring.

Illiteracy may not seem like a wide-spread problem. However, According to the World Literacy Foundation’s Annual Report, 750 million people are completely illiterate and more than 2 billion people are unable to read or write a single sentence. People in less-developed countries are not the only ones impacted by illiteracy. The report also mentions that “even in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, functional illiteracy does affect 25-35% of the population.” Illiteracy is not a small issue–it is prevalent all around us.

Although illiteracy impacts people all over the world, levels of illiteracy differ dramatically between racial and socioeconomic groups. An article published by Share titled Crisis Point: The State of Literacy in America cited the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress 12th Grade Reading Level Assessment. The assessment found that “46 percent of white students scored at or above proficient. Just 17 percent of black students and 25 percent of Latino students scored proficient.” By allowing this situation to continue, we are preventing the development of children based on their race or economic status.

Not being able to enjoy a classic novel is not the only negative outcome of a low literacy level. The Literacy Foundation lists many individual and societal consequences of illiteracy. Some of the individual consequences include “lower-income, lower-quality jobs” and “reduced access to lifelong learning and professional development.” Regarding the societal consequences of illiteracy, the Literacy Foundation explains that “without the basic tools necessary for achieving their goals, individuals without an adequate level of literacy cannot be involved fully and on a completely equal basis in social and political discourse.” In our society, not being able to read and write is a major roadblock to personal and professional success.

The International Literacy Association verbalizes the issue of illiteracy beautifully by explaining that “the ability to read, write, and communicate connects people to one another and empowers them to achieve things they never thought possible. Communication and connection are the basis of who we are and how we live together and interact with the world.” Here at Yours Humanly, we understand just how crucial strong literacy skills are for students.
Through our Coloring Futures and Bridging Gaps initiatives, we provide resources to strengthen these skills.

As a part of our Coloring Futures initiative, we offer literacy programs that aim to promote reading as well as parent and community involvement in local schools. On an international level, we place English instructors in areas that require them to enhance bilingual proficiency. Additionally, as a part of our Bridging Gaps initiative, we fund the purchase of books and other school supplies to help ensure that every child has everything they need to have an equal opportunity for success.

Books give us knowledge, and books give us hope. But, to receive the benefits of books, students must have access to them and the ability to read them. By supporting Yours Humanly, you will be helping to give hope to children across the globe.

Klaudia Kondakciu

Klaudia is a marketing and research professional who believes that a solid foundation in education is crucial to the healthy development of a community. As a writing tutor and long-time volunteer, she has seen the difference that organizations like Yours Humanly can make in the lives of underprivileged children and hopes to use her skills to help these organizations reach their goals of empowering children through education.