Literacy should never be taken for granted

Feb. 13, 2018 at 5:57 p.m.
Updated Feb. 14, 2018 at 6 a.m.

By the Advocate Editorial Board

Chances are you take for granted the ability to read and comprehend what you have read.

Illiteracy, for many of us, is something we tend not to think about.

To be literate opens the doors to many opportunities that we may not realize, like job access and health information.

Many who are illiterate grow up in poverty, and others drop out of school. In most cases, the two go hand in hand.

The number of those who are illiterate, we believe, is astronomical.

About 32 million adults in the U.S. cannot read, according to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy.

If that statistic alarms you as much as it does us, then doing something about it should be your first step.

That's where the Victoria Adult Literacy Council's and Rotary Clubs of Victoria's 25th annual Knowledge Bowl comes in.

Since 1993, the event, which was launched by the Victoria Advocate, has helped raise funds and awareness to better bridge the adult illiteracy gap on a local level.

At the Knowledge Bowl, teams of four try their hardest to answer challenging questions while eating and socializing.

The questions are truly challenging. And while the Knowledge Bowl can be competitive in nature, it's really all in good fun.

And, most importantly, it's for a good cause.

We believe nobody should have to live through a life of illiteracy, no matter what their economic status or upbringing.

What we find alarming is 19 percent of adults cannot read a newspaper, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

News should be something everyone can read. Knowing what is happening in your community is a vital part of existing, in our minds.

Really, illiteracy has a snowball effect that doesn't seem to end.

If you can't read, you can't fill out a job application.

If you can't read, you can't help your children with homework.

If you can't read, you may not be aware of certain programs that can help you read.

How's that for irony?

Next Friday, we hope you take a step toward making our community a more literate one.

A community that offers equal opportunity for those just trying to survive.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.


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