"Literacy starts with books, and takes hold when books are shared." - Ask Amy, syndicated advice columnist
We are a literate church in a literate city. Seattle has been rated as one of America's most literate cities by Central Connecticut State University ever since the study started in 2003, often occupying the #1 position. Since 2009, Seattle and Washington DC have traded off between first and second place with Minneapolis capturing first place in an upset win in 2014 (Washington DC #2 and Seattle #3). We were back in second place last year. The same university ranked the most literate nations. The United States came in seventh place after Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland. Not too shabby. However, The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, a cyclical, large-scale study that was developed under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed the US in thirteenth place (out of only 24 countries) and below the PIAAC International Average. Japan led the pack in this study from 2014. In 2013, the Huffington Post reported: "According to a study conducted in late April by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can't read. That's 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can't read." People can be termed "literate" if they can read a couple thousand simple words at a third or fourth grade level but "functionally illiterate" if they cannot understand warning labels, driving instructions, etc.
As a country, we are still more literate than not, but what about our logical thinking skills? How are we doing, as a country, at separating fact from fake? Realizing that actions have consequences? Digging deeply into a subject? Knowing that every subject of substance is worthy of more than a tweet? Do we get an A+? A D-?
There has been talk for years on the dumbing down of America. We're not quite there yet, but here are some books to read and ponder:
The Good News Club : the Christian right's stealth assault on America's children /Stewart, Katherine 379.2 STE
Amazing grace : the lives of children and the conscience of a nation /Kozol, Jonathan 362.7097 KOZ
Children of promise : literate activity in linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms /Heath, Shirley Brice 371.97 RR HEA
Searching for educational opportunities:
Words in the dust /Reedy, Trent J F REE
I am Malala : the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban /Yousafzai, Malala 371 YOU
Let's read more! And think, too!