Literacy Research

  1. Over time, the summer learning slide can add up to equivalent of three years of reading loss by the end of 5th grade. (Education researchers Alexander, Entwisle & Olson)
  2. More than 8,000 students quit high school every day, limiting their financial potential and ability to become strong members of the workforce. (Pew Research Center)
  3. To be fully literate in today’s complex society, a person must be able to read, write, do math and use a computer. (Literacy Partners)
  4. For every dollar that gets spent on adult illiteracy, society reaps $7.14 in returns—whether through increased revenues or decreased expenditures. (Literacy Partners)
  5. A third of all children—and more than half of low-income and minority youth—fail to graduate from high school on time. (America’s Promise & ProLiteracy)
  6. The current approach to reading failure is remedial, not preventative, forcing students to evidence failure before receiving help. (
  7. One in four U.S. adults lack the basic literacy skills required for a typical job. (Literacy researcher Louisa Moats) (1999)
  8. Only a third of students entering high school are proficient in reading. (National Assessment of Educational Progress)
  9. Two-thirds of 8th-graders do not read proficiently at grade level. (National Assessment of Educational Progress)
  10. Boys lag behind girls in reading proficiency in all 50 states. (Center for Education Policy)
  11. More than a third of all juvenile offenders read below the 4th-grade level. (Scholastic: “Adolescent Literacy: A National Reading Crisis”)
  12. By 2018, about 63% of all jobs will require at least some post-secondary education. (Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce)
  13. If the male graduation rate increased by just 5%, the U.S. would see an annual savings of $4.9 billion in crime-related costs. (Alliance for Excellent Education)
  14. Children in classrooms without literature collections read 50% less than children in classrooms with such collections. (International Reading Association)
  15. Studies have proven that increased family engagement in educational programs is linked with increases in child reading achievement and other academic successes (such as high school graduation rates). (The Pew Charitable Trusts: Pre-K Now)
  16. Children growing up in homes with at least 20 books get three years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation and class. (Educators and reading researchers Evans, Kelley, Sikora & Treiman)
  17. By age 2, children who are read to regularly display greater language comprehension, larger vocabularies and higher cognitive skills than their peers. (Child development researchers Raikes, Pan, Luze, Tamis-LeMonda, Brooks-Gunn, Constantine, Tarullo, Raikes & Rodriguez)
  18. Adults at the lower literacy levels are not only less skilled for the changing employment environment but are given less opportunity to  participate in training programs to acquire necessary skills. (Educational Testing Service)
  19. What we need are schools organized in ways that put the joy back into teaching and that do not confuse rigor with rigor mortis. (Phillip Schlechty, educator and author of “Creating Great Schools”)
  20. The U.S. military spends $70 million per year on remediation for recruits. (Ohio Literacy Resource Center)
  21. An adult without a high school diploma earns 42% less than one with a diploma. (U.S. Dept. of Education)
  22. High school dropouts have an unemployment rate 4 times greater than that of high school graduates. (Ohio Literacy Resource Center)
  23. Perhaps most heartbreaking is the long-term effect that low literacy in adults has on children—children who never hear a bedtime story or receive help with homework because their parent can’t read. (The Literacy Center)
  24. The greatest single indicator of children’s success in school is their mothers’ level of education. (The Literacy Center)
  25. 65% of U.S. 4th-graders read below grade level, according to their results on the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress reading test. (U.S. Dept. of Education)
  26. 64% of U.S. 8th-graders read below grade level, according to their results on the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress reading test. (U.S. Dept. of Education)
  27. Nationally, 2013 reading scores of 4th- and 8th-graders improved, respectively, by 8 and 6 percentage points over 1992 scores. (U.S. Dept. of Education)
  28. Young adults who lack reading and writing proficiency likely will be relegated to the ranks of unskilled workers in a world where literacy is an absolute precondition for success. (Alliance for Excellent Education)
  29. Over the past four decades, the share of jobs requiring some form of postsecondary education continued to rise, while the literary performance of American 13- and 17-year-olds remained flat. (National Assessment of Educational Progress, U.S. Dept. of Education)
  30. More than 60% of 12th-grade students scored below “proficient” on the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress reading test. (U.S. Dept. of Education)
  31. 27% of 12th-grade students scored below “basic” on the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress reading test. This means they don’t have even partial mastery of the appropriate grade level reading knowledge and skills. (U.S. Dept. of Education)
  32. The above-average performance of U.S. students on international comparisons does not necessarily mean that their literacy skills are adequate or satisfactory for the demands of the modern economy and modern democracy. … about 2/3 of all students do not attain proficiency in knowledge-based literacy and comprehension skills by the end of middle school. (Education researchers Reardon, Valentino & Shores)
  33. To the extent that high school success, as well as later educational and economic success, depends on the acquisition of knowledge-based literacy and comprehension skills in middle school, many U.S. students enter high school in need of substantial improvement in literacy. (Education researchers Reardon, Valentino & Shores)
  34. About 2/3 of 4th-graders, ¾ of 8th-graders and ¾ of 12th-graders were reading at the “basic” level in 2011. About 1/3 of students at each grade level were reading at the “proficient” level. (National Assessment of Educational Progress, U.S. Dept. of Education)
  35. 75% of unemployed adults have reading or writing difficulties. (National Institute for Literacy)
  36. In the early 1980s, the U.S. led the world in high school and college graduation rates. Today, the U.S. ranks, respectively, 20th and 16th. (Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development)
  37. Demand for basic adult education is high, with at least 160,000 people on waiting lists that exist in nearly every state. (National Council of State Directors of Adult Education)
  38. By 2018, 63% of job openings will require workers with at least some college education. (Center on Education and the Workforce)
  39. The good news: 80% of American students graduate from high school. The bad news: 20% do not. (U.S. Dept. of Education)
  40. Among adults with low literacy, estimates range from 30% to 80% regarding those with learning disabilities. (National Institute for Literacy)
  41. 40 million adults in the U.S. read and write at or below the 5th-grade level. (National Center of Adult Literacy)
  42. In the U.S., more than 30 million adults do not have a high school diploma. (Organization for
    Economic Co-Operation & Development)
  43. 20% of U.S. adults with a high school diploma have only beginning literacy skills. (Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development)
  44. The U.S. ranked 16th in literacy out of 24 countries in a recent assessment of adults’ skills. (Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development)
  45. An estimated one in five children has serious difficulties learning to read. (National Institutes of

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