Letters to the Editor

Literacy crisis addressed on the local level

September is Literacy Month and on Sept. 8, the world will mark the 45th annual International Literacy Day to remind us all that reading, writing, and basic math remain an elusive target for nearly 800 million adults around the globe, including the 30 percent in our community. The Horry County Literacy Council is part of a national network of organizations that work every minute of every day to end the adult literacy crisis.

According to ProLiteracy, the largest membership organization advancing the cause of adult literacy and basic education in the nation, more than 30 million adults in the U.S. lack the most basic literacy skills, and 15 percent of Americans without a diploma don’t have jobs. ProLiteracy provides more than 1,100 community-based literacy organizations, including the Horry County Literacy Council, with tools to help educate adult learners and help them meet the demands of today’s work force.

About one in six adults is still not literate, and approximately 67 million school-aged children are not enrolled in school. Here at home, in our own community, we know that 25 to 30 percent of the population in Horry County reads below a fifth grade level; 20 percent of the entire population has some type of learning difficulty most commonly known as dyslexia; and, too many of our children do not graduate with a high school diploma. Literacy helps families be healthier and safer and provides people sustainable opportunities to support themselves through work, contributing ultimately to the economic growth of our region and our country.

“Low literacy costs the nation more than $200 billion each year in lost productivity, as well as an additional $1 to $2 billion in health and safety issues,” said David Harvey, president and CEO of ProLiteracy. “Every dollar spent on adult literacy and education provides returns to the country through higher employment, added tax revenues, reduced welfare payments, and less crime.”

Literacy is the key to success in Horry County so, for more information regarding the council’s services, please contact the office at 843-839-1695; or email HCLC at literacyhc@gmail.com.

The writer is director of the Horry County Literacy Council.