Literacy is a fundamental element of a child’s development. Literacy means much more than just knowing how to read a book. It can also impact the ability for a child to learn other subjects, to understand road signs when driving or crossing the street, and can be a major contributor to a child living a fulfilling life into adulthood.
Despite its importance, two out of every 10 children enter kindergarten with skills two to three years lower than their grade level, and another two start school with a one-year disadvantage, according to the Children’s Reading Foundation. Students who are behind typically make only one year’s worth of progress at each grade level, keeping them behind their classmates throughout school and making them more likely to repeat grades, according to ProLiteracy.org.
Today, literacy is evolving into much more than the ability to read the newspaper or the latest bestseller. It is linked to things like graduation rates, socio-economic status, and even the development of social-emotional skills like empathy.
There are numerous reasons why literacy is one of the most critical life skills, but some of the top reasons, especially in the early years, are highlighted below.
Literacy Can Make or Break Their Future
According to ProLiteracy, more than 43 million adults living in the United States cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third-grade level. Even more startling are statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice linking incarceration and illiteracy, with an astonishing 70 percent of incarcerated adults unable to read above a fourth-grade level. Our children’s life outcomes literally depend on solving literacy instruction in our classrooms and allocating the right resources for early identification.
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