Importance of Literacy

Literacy and Crime

  • 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate. (Begin to Read)
  • More than 60 percent of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate. (Begin to Read)
  • The Department of Justice states, “The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure.” Over 70% of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.   (Begin to Read)

Literacy and High School Dropouts

  • Every school day in America, 3,000 students drop out—the majority of them are poor readers. Students with below grade level reading skills are twice as likely to drop out of school as those who can read on or above grade level. (Adolescent Literacy: A National Reading Crisis)
  • 78% of juvenile crime is committed by high school dropouts. (National Children’s Reading Foundation)
  • The average annual income for a high school dropout in 2004 was $16,485, compared to $26,156 for a high school graduate, a difference of $9,671 (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2005).
  • “Every student who doesn’t complete high school costs our society $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes, productivity.” (Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count 2010)