Levels of literacy: Adult literacy declines in new age

Friday, November 14, 2008 | 5:00 p.m. CST; updated 6:19 p.m. CST, Friday, November 21, 2008
Literacy affects our jobs, incomes, health and families. And at all levels of education, it is declining. Adult education and literacy classes might be the solution.

COLUMBIA — Even if you can read this, you might still be illiterate.

Although Americans can read at roughly the same level they could in the early 1990s, the demands of work, family and civic life require higher levels of literacy than they did before.


If you would like to get help with your literacy skills, prepare to take the GED exam or volunteer to tutor other adults, contact Columbia's Adult Learning Center. Call 214-3690 or visit the center at 310 N. Providence Road.

In a 2007 academic report, "America's Perfect Storm," Andrew Sum, a professor in labor economics at Northeastern University in Boston, found by 2030, the average literacy levels of adults will have decreased by 5 percent.


If Sum's prediction is correct, it will be the first time in U.S. history that a generation is replaced with one less educated. Already this is evident in the workplace, at home and in the chronic illiteracy that persists in American society.

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