Learning to read is probably the most difficult and revolutionary thing that happens to the human brain. – John Steinbeck
- More than 30 million adults in the United States cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third-grade level. — ProLiteracy
- Children whose parents have low literacy levels have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. These children are more likely to get poor grades, display behavioral problems, have high absentee rates, repeat school years, or drop out. — National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
- 75 percent of state prison inmates did not complete high school or can be classified as low literate. — Rand Report: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education
- Low literacy is said to be connected to over $230 billion a year in health care costs because almost half of Americans cannot read well enough to comprehend health information, incurring higher costs. — American Journal of Public Health
Your club can change these statistics through Literacy service projects
Your club can make a positive difference! Work with your local schools and libraries to find out how your members can support Literacy. It is important to ask how you can help and work with literacy professionals in your area. Do they need book donations, volunteers, tutors, reading assistance, or other kinds of help? Don’t assume. Literacy specialists, teachers, and librarians can guide you to develop meaningful service projects. Once you’ve established a collaborative program in your area, get your members involved in the projects that arise.
Utah Rotary partnership with United Way
Utah Rotary has developed a partnership with the United Way to get involved with already-established Literacy programs. For more information about the local initiatives, contact Franque Bains, United Way of Salt Lake Network Director – Collective Impact.
United Way has many tools, guides, and resources for strengthening your club’s literacy programs.
What effective literacy programs have Utah Rotary clubs already undertaken?
Clubs across Utah have developed dynamic Literacy service projects. For example, Blanding Club has donated board books to every newborn in San Juan County. Heber Valley Club has donated books on a monthly basis to all first graders and spends time reading in the classrooms. Vernal Club Members have read to first through third graders. These are just a few of the many ways our members are involved.
Then, let us know what you’re doing. We will add your project to our list of statewide Rotary Literacy Projects – coming soon!