Research overwhelming shows that educated parents are more likely to raise educated children. Children who have improved opportunities for future employment are less likely to live in poverty or spend time prison. Even parents who have only basic literacy skills can make a big difference to their child’s future by engaging in family literacy activities. They can frequently read stories to their children, take family trips to the public library and ensure that their children are in school and homework assignments are completed. From the very beginning, our children’s attitudes about learning are shaped by adults in the home. That’s why Literacy Action encourages all of our students – mothers, fathers or extended family members – to serve as role models and help make literacy an important part of a child’s value system.
In today’s workplace, literacy levels and job skill development go hand in hand. Even jobs that were once considered lower skilled employment, now demand that workers constantly exercise their ability to read, interpret and communicate information at higher levels than ever before. Cooks working on a fast food line interpret customer orders from overhead monitors. Automobile mechanics balance their knowledge of combustible engines with electronic circuitry. Healthcare workers read and react to information pouring from machines that are hooked up to their patients. Today’s workplace can be overwhelming for workers with below basic literacy skills. Without the reading skills necessary to participate in job training programs designed to prepare adults for family sustaining jobs, the outlook for these workers and their families is bleak. Literacy Action helps adults by rebuilding confidence and teaching new literacy skills that will help workers to participate successfully in job training programs and find better paying jobs.
Imagine you are a parent with a sick child. It’s the middle of the night, you have to go the pharmacy to buy medicine, but you can’t read. Which medicine will address the symptoms? What is the dosage? Does the store brand offer the same ingredients as the name brand? It’s one in the morning, so there is no one to call or ask for help. On a daily basis, we are faced with decisions that affect our health and the healthcare of our family and friends. From choices about nutrition, immunizations, chronic care or medical insurance, all require a certain level of literacy proficiency to navigate the system and interpret the information that will help us stay healthy. It is estimated that the United States wastes billions of dollars a year due to poor health literacy. These are resources that could better be used to ensure access to quality healthcare for all of our citizens. Along with basic literacy instruction, Literacy Action incorporates practical health information in our curriculum, such as understanding information on food packaging, preparing for a trip to a medical clinic or reading about how to manage chronic diseases such as hypertension, asthma and diabetes.