International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day
September 8 is International Literacy Day, established to celebrate literacy and put a focus on improving literacy throughout the world.

Approximately 860 million of the world’s adults, nearly two-thirds of whom are women, do not know how to read or write, according to the International Reading Association.

In Birmingham, AL, an estimated 38% of adults are functionally illiterate. This means they are unable to read and write well enough to fill out a job application.

The Birmingham Public Library partners with the Literacy Council to provide the community with adult literacy services. Adults interested in learning to read, improving their reading skills, and learning English as a second language may contact the Literacy Council at 205-326-1925 or 1-888-448-7323. Tutors and students are encouraged to meet in the public library in order to utilize the many services and resources available.

Facts about Illiteracy

  • The high school dropout rate in Alabama is 37%, 10 points higher than the national rate of 27%.
  • 75% of unemployed adults have reading or writing difficulties.
  • 60% of America’s prison inmates are illiterate and 85% of all juvenile offenders have problems reading.
  • 13% of all 17-year-olds are functionally illiterate. Among minority youth the figure is 44%.
  • It is estimated that fifteen million adults holding jobs today are functionally illiterate.
  • Almost 1 million adults in Alabama are not high school graduates.
  • Youngsters whose parents are functionally illiterate are twice as likely as their peers to be functionally illiterate.
  • The estimated cost of illiteracy to business and the taxpayer is $20 billion per year.
  • Over half of Alabama’s prisoners never completed the eighth grade. Over 90% of Alabama’s prisoners do not have a high school education.
  • In Birmingham 24.5% of Birmingham's citizens age 25 and older did not graduate from high school (2000 Census).

To read more about literacy check out one of our books.