Running away from illiteracy

Published 11:58 pm Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Illiteracy is a problem our community deals with every day. It’s evident within our schools, our workplaces and throughout the city. National statistics show that 17 to 20 percent of our nation’s children experience substantial difficulties in learning to read and that more than a third of students in fourth grade (and nearly 70 percent in some low-income urban schools) read below the basic level. The numbers just amplify the need for illiteracy awareness.

Children who are not fluent readers by fourth grade are likely to continue struggling with reading into adulthood, according to a study by the American Speech and Hearing Association. The way to get children fluent is to make sure that books are readily available. The United Way of South Hampton Roads is doing just that. The agency’s “Raising a Reader” program is aimed at providing books for kindergarteners and others who don’t have the means to buy books or who live in homes where the importance of reading is not stressed.

You can help. You can support the inaugural Suffolk News-Herald Race for Literacy, which benefits the United Way, by either volunteering your time, cheering on your family and friends or participating. The race will be held this Saturday, and all money raised will go directly toward the “Raising a Reader” program.


Email newsletter signup

Race-day registrations will be accepted from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. For more information, call the Suffolk News-Herald at 934-9611 or Beth Cross at the United Way at 539-1498.