Help Is Available For Adults Who Have Trouble Reading
Life in metro Detroit can be fast paced and difficult to navigate. Traffic signs direct us. The internet connects us. Warning labels protect us. But for those who struggle to read and write it’s all just a blur.
Susie Schechter, Executive Director of Reading Works says, “It’s a big problem. We know there are far too many people now who are functionally illiterate.”
One study found up to 47% of adults in the City of Detroit are functionally illiterate. 36% of adults in Wayne County have trouble with reading. And in Oakland and Macomb counties, up to 15% struggle with literacy.
That means they may have trouble filling out a job application, comparing food labels or using a GPS system. It means they have trouble performing many every day tasks a lot of us take for granted.
Illiteracy also takes a toll on society in general. For instance, the impact on health care is devastating. Adults who can’t read prescription labels or health related literature are less able to keep their families healthy. That adds $2 billion a year to health care costs in America.
Schechter says, “If you think about adult illiteracy, it really is the root cause of so many of the tough issues we face in our community.”
Antonio Binns has always struggled with reading even though he worked hard in school. He told us, “I remember spending hours on spelling words.”
Now he is determined to improve his skills and improve his life. “I really want to do better in my life. I don’t want to just be a slacker.”
Antonio finished high school. But it was tough. He listened to everything in class, but hated to speak, “I guess in fear of getting laughed at and talked about and so forth, so that kind of played a role in it.”
Then he found Dominican Literacy Center. He takes classes, and uses special computer programs to improve his reading, spelling and grammar. And he has a one on one tutor. Antonia told us, “He’s a great tutor. I love him to death.”
How does Antonio feel about finally reaching out and finding a program that is making a difference? He says, “It’s a great relief. It’s a blessing relief. No stress, no worries, no nothing. It’s good to know that I am going to come in here and get learned and to reach a higher step in my calling, a higher step in my life.”
So if you want to read to your children but can’t, if you don’t respond to text messages, if you can’t read a map — there is help.
Schechter says the motto of Reading Works is “It’s never too late to learn. Just because you struggled with reading now doesn’t mean you can’t be a fabulous reader at some point and there are people out here ready to help.”
To find a tutoring program near you, Dial 2-1-1 any time. They’ll give you the help you need.
Click here for information on volunteering as a reading tutor.
Click here for information on donating to Reading Works.
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