National Family Literacy Day

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff


National Family Literacy Day
Turn off your TV, pick up a good book





In a 1994 study, only 21% of the adult U.S. population had basic reading and writing skills.



Now that you've gorged your sweet tooth with Halloween treats, how about feeding your brain? November 1 marks National Family Literacy Day. Approximately eight thousand literacy programs will hold readings, workshops, and family activities at libraries and community centers across the country.

In a 1994 assessment of adult literacy skills, 21 percent of the adult population had only basic, or “level one,“ reading and writing skills. Compared to most of the other countries assessed in 1994, the United States showed a greater concentraion of adults scoring at the lowest literacy level (level one). However, the United States had one of the highest concentrations of adults scoring at or above level four on the reading and writing scale.

 Percentage of adults scoring on four levels of the prose literacy scale
CountryLevel 1Level 2Level 3Level 4/5
Switzerland (French)17.633.738.610.0
Switzerland (German)19.335.736.18.9
United States20.725.932.421.1

NOTE: Prose literacy relates to the knowledge and skills required to understand and use information from texts, including editorials, news stories, poems, and fiction. Most of the tasks at Prose Level 1 require the reader to locate and match a single piece of information that is identical to, or nearly identical to, the information given in the text. Prose Level 2 requires the reader to locate one or more pieces of information from the text and to compare and contrast information. The tasks at Prose Level 3 require readers to search the text to match information and make low-level inferences. Prose Level 4/5 measures how well readers perform mulitple-feature matching, use specialized knowledge, and make text-based inferences from more abstract text sources.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Education, The Condition of Education, 1997.

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