As World Book Day approaches this Saturday on April 23rd, it is only fitting to turn off the television and engulf myself in my favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice. But not many people in the United States will be celebrating the same way. In fact, many won’t be celebrating at all.
Illiteracy should not be something that American’s should have to go through in this day and age. But as a cold hard truth reality hits, many children across the country are unable to read, and 17% of high school teens graduate with a reading level of below basic. With public schools available to every child across the country, illiteracy and below basic reading level should not be occurring in 2016. But in a recent study conducted in Education Week, many school districts do not have the necessary means to pay for books and materials for children.
The sad reality truth of the matter is that low income areas are not fully funded and do not provide the necessary means for children to thrive. It is no secret that the link between illiteracy and poverty leads to a higher criminal rate. According to the US Department of Education, 70% of inmates in prisons across the country are either illiterate or have a 4th grade reading level. The benefits of reading go far beyond than knowing classic literature and well known authors.
Reading is crucial in playing a part in the development of a child’s mind. Not only does it help expand the imagination, along with brain function, but it also helps the many circuits in the brain to stay connected, even long after we are done reading a book. Being able to read is something that millions all around the globe are striving to achieve, especially those in third world countries where books are in short supply. This Saturday, let’s break the long lasted habit of tossing books aside and let’s open them up for a change.