Rune Warriors, I mentioned the following experience. He strongly suggested I should post the experience.
I was on the board of VITA which is a local non-profit that promotes literacy. VITA also was the largest provider of literacy training in the Bucks County Prison system. We had a board meeting in the prison one time to discuss the program with some of the inmates. A very scary looking 30 something guy was so proud of the fact that our program had gotten him to the point that he could read at a 6th grade level. He said that just that week he had finished the first book he had ever read. He ascribes illiteracy as a major factor in crime. He said his inability to read made people think he was stupid and they treated him like he was stupid. He said that made him angry and made it easier to steal from them. Between the demeanor, tattoos and attitude this was a guy you would cross the street to avoid and yet he was so grateful for our program and his learning to read. He said he had a three year old daughter and when he got out he was going to make sure she learned to read because he didn’t want her ending up like him.
Being a life long, early reader and making sure my kids and grandkids love to read, I frankly was flabbergasted listening to this career criminal. It is just amazing that there are so many people out there who can’t read. VITA estimates there are 60,000 functionally illiterate people in Bucks County which is one of the most affluent counties in Pennsylvania. The stats are staggering.
Please read and encourage all the children you have contact with to read. If you teach a child to read recreationally, to really enjoy curling up with a book, you will positively impact that child’s entire life.