Print (yes, paper!) Matters

pileof booksAs the world continues its march toward all things digital, take a moment to reflect on what we might be losing. Without the newspaper rustling as it’s refolded at the breakfast table, kids can just focus on their devices. Without shelves of books in a house, kids don’t have the chance to browse and pick a book at random. Without a dog-eared paperback, what will transport us back to that summer beach read?

Does any of this really matter? The loss of print books and periodicals can have significant repercussions on children’s intellectual development. According to the New York Times:

In a 2014 study published in the sociology journal Social Forces researchers measured the impact of the size of home libraries on the reading level of 15-year-old students across 42 nations, controlling for wealth, parents’ education and occupations, gender and the country’s gross national product. After G.N.P., the quantity of books in one’s home was the most important predictor of reading performance. Owning books in the home is one of the best things you can do for your children academically.

Sure, some families can replace paper literature — news, books, magazines — with digital media. But what of those who can’t afford electronic readers? So many factors influence child development. Maybe dusty bookshelves are a good thing after all.

Free Community College Won’t Help Everybody

In his final State of the Union address, President Obama said, “Real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job.” Read more here.

Unfortunately for many of the adults who come to Craven Literacy, community college is beyond their reach even when cost is not an obstacle. Our adult learners struggle with basic literacy skills. Many of them have limited ability to use a computer and the internet. At this low level of literacy everyone’s difficulties and needs are unique. Volunteer tutors work one-on-one with our clients to create and follow an individualized learning plan that specifically addresses that adult’s literacy gaps.

Free community college is only part of the solution. We here at Craven Literacy and other organizations like us around the country are also part of the solution.

Low Literacy in the 21st Century

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One in five American adults cannot access or use the Internet.

If you’re reading this blog, low literacy is probably not an issue for you. But what about that other 20% of Americans? No Facebook? No Google searches? No online job searches? Low literacy makes it impossible for adults to participate in life to the best of their abilities.

Basic literacy skills simply aren’t enough in today’s technology-driven world. Adults need computer skills and access to technology to succeed in our society, whether they’re trying to find a job online, getting accurate health information on the Internet, or simply reading an email from their child’s teacher. Adults who lack basic technology skills are stuck at the bottom of an entrance ramp to an information superhighway thay can never reach.

Click here to read more from ProLiteracy about all the ways low literacy impacts adults.