Manatee Literacy Council - Why Literacy

Why Literacy?

Literacy is the gatekeeper to education, financial stability, health, relationships, and empowerment. It is the foundation of self-sufficiency and lifelong success. On the other hand, a lack of functional literacy contributes to just about all social and economic problems in our society.For them, simple everyday tasks present real problems. Reading product labels, following street signs or filling out job applications can be difficult and frustrating.

Florida has the third lowest adult literacy level of all 50 states. In Manatee County, as many as one in five adults cannot read above a fifth-grade level. These findings come from the most recent National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), a survey of more than 19,000 Americans ages 16 and older.

This means that everyday functions most of us take for granted are difficult for many. Basic things such as filling out applications, writing checks, grocery shopping, reading to children, reading a bus schedule, or communicating with a child's teacher are difficult. For those who can't speak English the problem is worse. Things like renting an apartment or going to the doctor become terrifying and overwhelming tasks.

Families suffer, too. Parents with low literacy skills have trouble reading to their children and many don't even try. Sadly, the literacy levels of children are strongly linked to the educational levels of their parents.










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