Why Literacy Is An Important Financial Building Block

“More than 20 percent of adults read at or below a fifth-grade level – far below the level needed to earn a living wage.” – National Institute for Literacy

“Nearly half of America’s adults are poor readers, or ‘functionally illiterate.’ They can’t carry out simple tasks like balancing check books, reading drug labels or writing essays for a job.” – National Adult Literacy Survey, 1993

“To participate fully in society and the workplace in 2020, citizens will need powerful literacy abilities that until now have been achieved by only a small percentage of the population.” – National Council on Teachers of Englis

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13 Responses to Why Literacy Is An Important Financial Building Block

  1. Jackie says:

    This is a great article to illustrate the fact that nothing in this world stands alone. We’re all interconnected in some way and many, seemingly disparate factors influence us everyday. I love the connection you’ve drawn here and hope many take it to heart.

  2. Since, education is one of the keys to success. If one can’t read, it’s harder to learn, so that makes sense.

    Not disparaging your kids reading choice is important. I wanted to read these great “Guess who, game type books” as a kid and my mom told me to stop. I ended up not wanting to read anything for a while!

  3. There is no question about what you wrote. The ability to read and understand is the basis upon which all knowledge is gained.

  4. Monkey Mama says:

    I come from a family of early readers. I share because I know most our friends think we sat the kids down and forced them to read or something. The funny thing is that we are the complete opposite. No, we never sat down our children with flashcards, or pen and paper. What did we do? We read to them. When they were babies, we read to them. WE are voracious readers, and they imitate the adults around them. The thing is, the kids will learn on their own time. The important thing is that you read to them, and they have access to books. The rest will follow. I didn’t “teach” either of my children to read, formally.

    In our society, people are too caught up with age. Since kids can’t possibly read before aged 6, young readers are discouraged. On the flip side, late bloomers are also discouraged. My experience is that kids learn on their own time.

    (As my child ages, I understand the age 6 thing a bit. He couldn’t really comprehend or read fluently an entire book, until he hit age 5.5 or so. BUT, to discourage him from learning his letters, letter sounds, and attempting to read books on his own, the many years prior, would have been ludicrous all the same. Quite a few educators have told me it is impossible my child could read. :rolleyes: ). The education system thinks every child should follow a strict timetable – no wonder so many kids are so illiterate.

    & yes, literacy is SO important!

  5. edmuse22 says:

    Yes, one minute you’re young and reckless and the next you realize time has run out and you need to start saving just about everything you earn if you want to survive to a ripe old age. Better to start young. I had to get clued up quickly on saving recently and it was a scary place to be. I am lucky that I am crazy about reading. The thing is I wasn’t that crazy about reading books about money. I eased myself into it with these books that I found inspiring, even if, owing to my lack of knowledge on money matters, I had to read each of them more than five times:

    Rich Dad Poor Dad
    The Millionaire next Door
    The Power of Positive Thinking
    The Richest man in Babylon

  6. Sue says:

    Very true and something that I have witnessed firsthand. My mother and several of her siblings all have little to no reading ability. Thankfully my father instilled in me early on the value of reading (and later on finances). But memories of childhood consist of helping my mother to fill out forms, write checks, and reading the supermarket flyers to her.

  7. Seattle Student says:

    This is a great article. I work as a tutor and my specialty is teaching early reading skills. There is nothing more important to a child’s ability to succeed in school and life than her ability to communicate effectively and comprehend Standard Written English. It is so heartbreaking to see children who are eleven or twelve years old and struggling with basic concepts because they never learned them early on. Not only are these kids trying to learn a difficult new skill, they feel ashamed of their lack of knowledge and this makes it difficult for them to feel enthusiastic about or engaged with the material. I think that the two most important things that parents can do to encourage the development of these skills is to read to their children (even a one year-old will listen to a short story, enthralled by your voice and the illustrations) and to have books available in the home. If the parents cannot afford to buy books at sticker price,they should pick up books at garage sales or make a point of getting to the library on a regular basis. And no one should discourage a child from reading a book over and over. It may seem boring to the adult, but the child is forming connections between oral language and the written word which are reinforced every time the book is read.

  8. Joan says:

    Spread your message, Jennifer! But—Can you really persuade anyone to read to their kids and to do all the other wonderful things that you’ve mentioned?

    WHO really can reach those parents who do not do these things? WHO can reach those kids who have no one encouraging them?

  9. efcussins says:

    How can anyone know what they are getting into when they get a simple prepaid cell phone or rent an apartment? Basic reading skills are needed.

    Many times I get my wife or a friend to read a terms and conditions, before I sign anything. They usually see some hook I missed.

  10. Mr. Alarcon says:

    This is a great article which I fully agree with. Without having the ability to read above the fifth grade level and understand what you are reading, anything else like contracts become quite difficult to tackle on one’s own.

    Thanks for providing a fine article on the importance of literacy in the financial world,

  11. Judy says:

    Excellent and Timely article. November 1, 2009 is National Family Literacy Day.

  12. Gail says:

    Who says kids can’t learn to read before the age of six? My AUTISTIC son (age 4) taught himself how to read by sitting next to me and my older 1st grader when I worked with him on his reading homework.

    I love to read and always feel so sad for those who never got the concept and love of reading poured into them. The only viable punishment that my mother knew would work with me was threatening to not let me go to the library (I visited daily and checked books out daily). At this point in my life I estimate that I have read 20,000 books or more. So much of my knowledge has come just from reading for the love of it.

    One of the best things to get your kid reading is turn off the stupid TV and have plenty of books around. I have seen mothers with children at bag day at the library book sales ($1 for a bag of books) and they were only letting their kids pick one book, if that. I want to scream, FILL UP THE BAG!!! I would even be willing to give them the $1! I too have seen mothers tell their kids not to check certain books out at the library and it is sad to see. Kids need to read, be read to and see their parents reading.

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