Literacy Coalition

David Lehr demonstrates how he worked with student Anita Mitchell at the Madison County Literacy Coalition on Sept. 11.

If you can read and understand this, consider yourself lucky.

Many adults living among us cannot. Studies indicate about 32 million adults in the United States can’t read.

Illiteracy is strongly associated with a host of problems, including poverty, poor health, unemployment and incarceration.

Locally, the Madison County Literacy Coalition continues to tackle the problem head on, as detailed in a news article published Saturday in The Herald Bulletin.

The organization has 22 literacy tutors working in Madison County and hopes to increase the number to 50 over the next several years.

Tutors are helping people learn to read in Anderson, Pendleton and Elwood and Summitville, and the coalition aims to reach people across the entire county.

You can help give the gift of reading by volunteering to tutor, becoming a member of the coalition or making a monetary contribution. Proceeds from sales at the Book Nook in Southdale Plaza directly benefit the organization.

Many volunteers and contributors are motivated by the desire to help others improve their lives. There’s also the reality that increased literacy helps everyone by eroding the costs of illiteracy.

About $232 billion annually in health care costs nationwide are linked to low adult literacy, according to proliteracy.com. “Nearly half of American adults have difficulty understanding and using health information,” the website explains.

Also, costs associated with low literacy amount to at least $225 billion each year in “non-productivity in the workforce, crime and the loss of tax revenue due to unemployment,” according to the website.

While digesting these figures, think about the personal costs of not being able to read.

And consider yourself lucky.

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