Over 90 million American adults, nearly one out of two, are functionally illiterate, meaning that they do not possess the minimum skills required to function in a modern society. Facts such as this regarding literacy illustrate a devastating portrait of the social conditions which exist in America, the country generally portrayed as the most advanced in the world. Out of 191 million adults in the US, as many as 44 million cannot read a newspaper or fill out a job application; another 50 million are unable to read or comprehend above the eighth grade level. According to education experts it requires ninth grade competence to understand the instructions for an antidote on a bottle of corrosive kitchen lye, tenth grade competence to understand the instructions on a federal income tax return, and twelfth grade competence to read a life insurance form. Unfortunately, more than three fifths of the population is unable to read with the competence of a fifth grader. Steps to resolve this problem must be taken immediately. Educational improvements need to be made at the most basic level, in the country’s grammar and elementary schools. For, it has been proven that supplying children between the ages of five and ten years of age with numerous books both in and outside of school lends itself to the overall quality of education children receive and increases the children’s chances of functional literacy by nearly 35%. Unfortunately, many grade schools in the urban regions of America are not well supplied with information on grants which may provide them with additional funding so that they may properly equip children with such materials. A neutral board directed by charitable people may help to alleviate this problem by providing schools and literacy programs with information on various grants and analyzing their eligibility.
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