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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Reading Crisis: Illiteracy in America is Widespread

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2015 Aug 27
  • Comments

Studies are showing that illiteracy in America has reached epidemic levels.


U.S. military leaders have even gone so far as to term the illiteracy rate of young Americans “a national security threat,” according to Christianity Today.


Guest writer for Christianity Today’s Hermeneutics, Sara Kay Mooney, writes about her experience as a teacher in a Title I middle school, detailing her experience with a student who was in middle school but could not read.


Mooney writes about her discouragement at feeling unable to give her students what they needed and feeling disheartened that the statistics indicated that students who are already behind in their education in middle school, are unlikely to become adults who are well-educated.


“Those who fail to read on grade level by third grade continue to lag behind in middle school and high school, and they’re less likely to graduate or make it to college,” Mooney states.


Only a third of America’s eighth graders--students who are 13 or 14 years old--scored proficient or higher on reading tests in 2013. 


Children from low income families are even less likely to be able to read and to attain a sufficient education.


In light of how integral reading is to our culture and especially to Christianity with Jesus embodying “the Word” and the Bible being a printed document we read, Mooney offers some suggestions for how individuals and the church can work to remedy the country’s high rate of illiteracy.


She mentions giving of your time to tutor students, organizing book drives (statistics find the more books that are in a household, the greater the child’s chances of being literate), and hosting classes to train tutors and to care for low income families.


Mooney believes the church and Christians should be at the forefront of the effort to combat the illiteracy rate.



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Publication date: August 27, 2015