What is Literacy?
Literacy in simplest terms means the ability to read and write, but more precisely it is “the ability to understand, evaluate, use and engage with written texts to participate in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.” (1)
23% of Arkansans (nearly 500,000) are at or below the lowest level of literacy. Adults at this level of literacy range from being able to read short texts and perform simple tasks to having only very basic vocabulary and being functionally illiterate. (2)
38% of Arkansans (over 800,000) are at or below level two of literacy, meaning they are near proficiency but still struggle with text-based tasks, making life much more difficult. (2).
What is the Rate of Literacy in the United States?
U.S. adults struggle with literacy; they cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third grade level. (3)
adults fall below the level of basic literacy skills. Yet less than 10% of adults in need are receiving services. (3)
immigrants (47%) are not proficient in speaking English. (4)
adults function at or below basic literacy skills. (1)
of adults don’t have a high school diploma. (5)
In Central Arkansas
adults have below basic literacy skills. (2, 6)
Literacy impacts every aspect of adult life. Adults with better literacy skills are more likely to…
Read to their children and help with homework
Be employed full time in family-supporting jobs
Receive a higher income and manage their money well
Have better health outcomes and lower costs
Vote, volunteer, and access information about current events
Stay out of legal trouble
6) including Pulaski, Faulkner, Saline, Lonoke, and Perry counties