The Literacy Crisis in West Virginia

20% of West Virginians struggle with low literacy levels.

Illiteracy is associated with third world countries, places far from the United States. However, many adults in West Virginia struggle every day with low reading levels. West Virginia's geography and history have contributed to a climate of low education in the state. The proliferation of coal mining created jobs which often did not require education, and families were often forced to choose between education and income. This legacy, along with the isolating effect of the mountainous terrain, left many communities without the adequate resources to educate families. In some counties, particularly in the most isolated parts of the state, almost 40% of adults do not possess basic literacy skills.

73% of WV 3rd graders read below grade level.

A 2013 study revealed that almost three quarters of West Virginia third graders were reading below grade level. This dire statistic predicts a bleak future for West Virginia literacy: without serious intervention, these children will be behind academically for the rest of their lives. The single most important factor in a child's education, however, is the child's parents and family. If the family is actively engaged in a child's education and reading level, they will be able to catch up. However, if the adults in the family do not have adequate reading skills, they cannot pass those along to their children. When you help an adult learn to read, you are also ensuring future generations will receive the education they deserve.

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