MetaMetrics Celebrates Literacy Week

This week we are celebrating literacy week, and although we are in the business of promoting reading and reading growth, it is essential that we recognize the state of adult literacy in the United States.  According to the National Coalition for Literacy: “In the U.S., 30 million people over age 16 — 14 percent of the country’s adult population — don’t read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level or fill out a job application.” This is a shocking statistic considering the wealth of our nation. Our communities offer a wealth of assistance to aid those who face illiteracy. Below are some further statistics on the state of literacy from begintoread.com:

  • Literacy is learned. Illiteracy is passed along by parents who cannot read or write.
  • One child in four grows up not knowing how to read.
  • 43% of adults at Level 1 literacy skills live in poverty compared to only 4% of those at Level 5
  • 16 to 19 year old girls at the poverty level and below, with below average skills, are 6 times more likely to have out-of-wedlock children than their reading counterparts.
  • Low literary costs $73 million per year in terms of direct health care costs. A recent study by Pfizer put the cost much higher.

Our goal here at MetaMetrics is to improve the state of literacy by focusing on encouraging children to read and to find joy in the act of reading. Recently, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a branch of ALA, released their Best Book lists for 2010. Not only do they focus on the Best Books of the year for teen readers, such as The Demon’s Lexicon (HL830L) by Sarah Rees Brennan or Written in Bone (NC1140L) by Sally M. Walker, but they also offer a list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens and Popular Paperbacks. Another great source for struggling readers is their Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers. There are several great novels here that may strike the interest of any teen that is hesitant to pick up a book. Some Lexile titles include: Better Late than Never (HL680) by Marilyn Kaye and Jumping Off Swings (HL570L) by Jo Knowles.   Fortunately, many of these titles have Lexile measures which allow parents and teachers to match students to targeted text and to reduce the frustration that many struggling readers may experience when faced with books at too complex a level.

This week we encourage you to celebrate literacy week by reading and helping young readers find titles in which they’re interested.  You may find one of our free online tools useful for doing just that.  Find a Book is a free tool that allows readers to match themselves to books based on both Lexile reading level and personal interests.  If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Lexile Find a Book utility.

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