Childhood Literacy Rates Declining in U.S.

The result has been an increase in crime and incarceration. 

Educators across America are expressing concerns regarding the movement away from phonics-based learning in schools and the decline of literacy rates. 

Mary Cantwell, co-founder of Enriched Literacy Education stated that the consequences are huge for the nation, stressing involvement with the criminal justice system is directly related to how well one can read. 

“If we don’t fix this quickly, our incarceration rates will go up, our taxes will go up, crime will spike,” she said. “This will put such taxes on our health care system. I mean, the ramifications are pretty significant for our country.” 

According to statistics from the National Children’s Board and Literacy Alliance, only 35 percent of fourth graders were found reading on grade level in 2019. 

“Over the last 30 years, there’s been a movement away from phonics,” co-founder of Enriched Literacy Education Brooke Ooten said. “Phonics is what I remember growing up with, learning that each letter makes a sound and putting those sounds together to make words.” 

Cantwell and Ooten are encouraging parents to start phonics early with their children by putting a focus on reading at home. “These skills have to be taught,” Cantwell stressed. “Children are not being taught these skills in school… parents really need to take action.” 

According to a Gallup analysis published in March 2020, more than 130 million adults in the U.S. have low literacy skills, meaning that more than half (54 percent) of Americans between the ages of 16 and 74 read below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level. 

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For Secretary Cardona to seek God’s direction as he addresses the literacy of American children.
  • For U.S. educators and administrators to be discerning in their reading curriculum choices.
  • For parents to invest time into reading to and with their children to cultivate literacy and learning.

Sources: Fox News, APM Research Lab  


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