According to the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS), 92 million adults in the United States - almost 48 percent of the population - have very low or low literacy skills. Reading and writing at these levels makes it difficult to earn a living wage and turns everyday tasks into extraordinary challenges.
For the 40 million adults in the United States with very low literacy skills - those designated by NALS as Level One - it is a struggle to read to their children or help with them with schoolwork. The reading level of these adults is severely limiting. They cannot understand the instructions on an appliance warranty, find an intersection on a street map, or locate two pieces of information in a sports article. Equally disturbing are the facts that 43 percent of those with the lowest literacy skills live in poverty and nearly one-third of prison inmates have very low literacy skills. Another 52 million adults have only low literacy skills (NALS Level Two). While these individuals have a basic ability to read, many everyday tasks are beyond their skill levels. They cannot, for example, write a short letter explaining a mistake on a credit card bill or use a calculator to figure out the difference between regular and sale prices described in an ad.
Low literacy skills significantly impact adultsí ability to be productive as citizens, parents or workers.
Forty-three percent of people with the lowest literacy skills live in poverty.
Over 75 percent of current welfare recipients have very low or low reading skills.
Only 30 percent of adults with very low literacy skills have full-time jobs. Some have part-time jobs, but over half of these adults no longer look for work.
Nearly one-third of prison inmates have very low literacy skills. Close to 40 percent more read only at a low level.
Several studies show that education programs reduce the likelihood that prison inmates return to jail after their release. A Federal Bureau of Prisons report found that completing an education course every six months reduced inmates' recidivism by almost 10%.
Even more widespread, the problem of people not reading--aliteracy--lowers the expectations and potential of the entire society. The life of the mind that practiced literacy engenders makes this recovery effort critical.
Prepare for a Literacy Program -- These first six sites are from an awesome on-line book and CD-Rom resource by the International Summer Institute for Linguistics
Basic Elements of Grant Writing -- Successful grant writing involves the coordination of several activities, including planning, searching for data and resources, writing and packaging a proposal, submitting a proposal to a funder, and follow-up.
Interactive On-line Adult Literacy Tutoring/Coaching Workshop -- A "Web Quest Workshop" that combines solo and team tasks using web sites and an Electronic Discussion Board. It covers Literacy, Adult Learning, Reading, Writing, Dyslexia, Study Skills, Numeracy (Basic Math), Teaching Speakers of Other Languages, and GED Preparation--all in the context of nonformal (voluntary) adult education.
Literacy Volunteers of America -- A fully integrated national network of local, state, and regional literacy providers that give adults and their families the opportunity to acquire skills to be effective in their roles as members of their families, communities, and workplaces
Adult Learning: An Overview -- Exploring four major research areas (self-directed learning, critical reflection, experiential learning and learning to learn) each of which have been proposed as representing unique and exclusive adult learning processes
Adult Learning -- Adult learning has been viewed as a process of being freed from the oppression of being illiterate, a means of gaining knowledge and skills, a way to satisfy learner needs, and a process of critical self-reflection that can lead to transformation.
Family Literacy: Respecting Family Ways -- This Digest discusses the family as a preferred place of literacy development and highlights family literacy initiatives that reflect respect for the family as a site of learning.
PBS Literacy Link -- The site that helps adults build essential skills for lifelong learning
Western/Pacific LINCS -- Western/Pacific LINCS provides free email, listservs, web hosting and development, and technical training to literacy programs throughout the western United States and the Pacific Islands.
Reading Matters! -- Reading matters reflected in these sites reflect the issues and ideas that matter most
Transformative Learning -- The kind of learning we do as we make meaning of our lives. . . a very popular topic in adult education because it doesn't just involve classroom learning--it involves learning about our lives. This is important because as adults, the meaning making process can change everything about how we look at work, family, and the world.