Below Basic – 14% or 30 million Americans are functioning at the Below Basic level. They can perform only the simplest and concrete literacy tasks, such as signing a form, completing a job application, using the internet or reading a bedtime story to a child. They are likely to live in poverty, and are unable to participate in their children’s education.
Basic Level – 29% or 63 million Americans are at the Basic Level. They can read, but not well and can deal only with simple material. They are unlikely to have the skills required to be gainfully employed or economically self-sufficient.
Impact of Low-Literacy
A high school drop out earns about $240,000 less than a graduate and pays about $60,000 less in taxes.
The average 45 year-old high school dropout is in worse health than the average 65-year old high school graduate.
High school dropouts have a life expectancy that is 9.2 years shorter than graduates.
By age 4, children in low-income families will have heard 13 million words, compared to 45 million words heard by children in professional families. This has a direct impact on brain development and learning ability.
¾ of children who are behind in reading at the end of 3rd grade, will REMAIN behind for the rest of their school years.