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14% of U.S. adults struggle to read medicine labels, maps, or names on a ballot. Their families are plagued by poverty because they cannot read a job application or understand their children's report cards.


The Link Between Homelessness & Children’s Literacy

In America there are over 550,000 families with young children that are homeless. These homeless children are put at a higher risk for not becoming literate, simply because of their living conditions.

Because of how homeless resources are acquired, many children are moved around frequently. The lack of a consistent home environment and

the placement in a homeless shelter or foster home can restrict early literacy development. To compound matters, moving around frequently can also make it hard for homeless children to attend school regularly, make ties with teachers and acquire basic reading skills at a young age.

Becoming a literate adult is a huge leg up in escaping poverty and homelessness. Sadly, being a homeless child makes the odds of becoming a literate adult that much slimmer.

Homeless Children Perform 75% Below Grade Level in Reading
1 of 7 U.S. Adults are Functionally Illiterate

How did it get that way?

The exact causes of illiteracy in America are so varied and vast it would be hard to give just one answer to how we got where we are today. But, it clearly has a strong link to socio-economic standing.

We all know children who face the challenges of poverty are at a disadvantage. In fact, children who have not been well-fed or

well-nurtured, are less healthy and subsequently less ready to learn than their peers. Ultimately the effects of these early set backs can be seen well into adulthood. Additionally, it is also shown that struggling readers from low-income families are 13 times less likely to complete high school than their peers who can read proficiently. Not graduating high school can put a damper on ambitious career plans, and makes it that much harder to break out of the poverty level.

Increased Summer Reading Reduces Summer Learning Loss

Libraries Heat Up Summer Reading

When schools close up shop for the summer, many children lose their daily access to books. Not engaging with books and learning on a daily basis cause most children to lose up to one month of taught knowledge, and disadvantaged students often are the most affected.

During the elementary school years, children who have limited access to summer reading at libraries often fall behind their peers as they

advance academically, especially in literacy and comprehension. Instilling summer reading habits can play a critical role in providing a foundation for success later down the road.

Finally, it boils down to common sense – more access to books means more reading. And, more reading means children write better, spell better, have larger vocabularies and a greater understanding of grammar. All of these positive results of reading add up to academic success and have a compounding effect as children grow and develop.

Libraries per Capita
Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinis and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right.... Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.
Kofi Annan
Literacy is not a luxury, it is a right and a responsibility. If our world is to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century we must harness the energy and creativity of all our citizens.
Pres. Bill Clinton

Whether it’s a preschooler, a 1st grader, or a 40 year old who is learning to read, becoming literate makes the world a larger, happier place to be. The CharitySub community has a chance to tackle illiteracy from every angle, and we need your help to make it happen!

Let’s close the literacy gap together.


Libraries for low-income preschoolers

Books for Kids Foundation is a national program that creates libraries specifically for low-income pre-schoolers that have little or no access to books. These libraries then partner with literacy programs so children can develop critical early foundation reading skills needed to be successful when entering school.

Literacy Partners

Adult courses in NYC
Literacy Partners

Literacy Partners has worked in New York City for 35 years to combat illiteracy amongst adults. Students are taught in three-hour sessions, both in the classroom and in a tutorial setting and can take courses in reading, math, grammar, financial literacy and health literacy.

Read Alliance

1-on-1 tutoring for at-risk children
Read Alliance

Read Alliance, based in New York City, provides one-on-one tutoring by teens to at-risk kindergartners and first graders to help them acquire basic reading skills. This structure shrinks the achievement gap of the children all while providing essential college and career skills to the tutors.