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1 in 4 Americans don't know how to read and literacy rates are declining; but LeVar Burton is battling back

Last year The Reading Rainbow celebrated its 30th anniversary, but it was a bittersweet one.  The edutainment television show had recently entered the digital era, with its app for Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iOS, which held the top spot for educational app for some time.  But the TV show itself was very dead, having been cancelled in Nov. 2006 due to ongoing financial troubles of The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

I. I Can Go Anywhere -- Even the Internet

But all is not lost.

The show's host LeVar Burton -- also famous for his roles as "Geordi" on Star Trek: The Next Generation and "Kunta Kinte" on the award-winning television drama Roots -- never gave up on the beloved show.  And the success of the iPad app inspired him to pursue a digital age solution -- a Kickstarter project to try to fund a broader return of Reading Rainbow content, with free educational apps for at least 1,5000 schools across America and an online library of interactive books and other educational content.

LeVar Burton makes a powerful case to the public, writing:

Right now, 1 out of every 4 children in America will grow up illiterate.

And: numerous studies reveal that children who can't read at grade level by the 4th grade are 400% more likely to drop out of high school.

And: as of 2011, America was the only free-market country where the current generation was less well educated than the previous.

The KickStarter just launched today, but has already rocketed to roughly $386,000 USD of its $1M USD goal.

Reading Rainbow
Backers are treated to some pretty sweet perks:
Reading Rainbow perks  (small)
Reading Rainbow school rewards
Reading Rainbow Rewards (Star Trek)
$10,000 USD is a lot to pony up to wear Geordi's visor, but it couldn't be for a better cause.  We're guessing there's a wealthy Star Trek fan or two, at least, who might jump at that opportunity.

II. Could a TV Return Be a Stretch Goal?

The only thing that's a bit of the bummer is that currently it has no plans to bring Reading Rainbow, the show itself, back on the air.  Reading Rainbow (TV) -- a show which won a Peabody, 26 Emmys, and over 270 other awards -- is today no longer broadcast on television in most regions, and is only available legally via Netflix, Inc.'s (NFLX) or, Inc.'s (AMZN) streaming services.

A faint glimmer of hope still exists for a comeback, though, as the Kickstarter page states:

And that’s just the beginning. The first million raised will help us get onto the web and into 1,500+ classrooms… but once we get there, we’ve got some big ideas for stretch goals!

Could that include a television return?

Back in 2006, LeVar Burton was battling to keep the show on, pursuing funding of $150,000-175,000 USD.  Initially a company named Educate, Inc. (known for its chain of Sylvan learning centers) offered to back the project for 52-episodes.  In its hey-day the show had 10 episodes a year, but more recently it had fallen to a rate of 5 per year.

Reading Rainbow

Educate, Inc. got cold feed at the last minute, and the rest is a sad point in history for many.  But the disclosed cost per episode gives up estimates of how much it would cost to make the show today:
  • 5 episodes: $1M USD
  • 10 epsiodes: $2M USD
Clearly, Mr. Burton is prioritizing apps and internet content over television and with good reason.  Many view television as a slowly dying medium.  But if funding keeps pouring in at its current wild pace, it might become feasible to consider funding 10-20 episodes -- enough for several seasons, even.

Don't get your hopes up, but either way it's a great blast from the past and one of the best Kickstarter causes to donate to, given the illiteracy crisis facing America today.

On a side note, maybe PBS should switch to modernized crowdsourced funding

While it's stepped up its digital funding efforts in recent years, much of its funding still comes from the tired old phone campaign.  While that may work for another decade or two, PBS needs to move quickly to modernize its fundraising efforts, or it will go the way of the dinosaur, even as its former show finds new ways to thrive in the digital age.

Sources: Kickstarter, Reddit

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By Ristogod on 5/28/2014 5:21:08 PM , Rating: 2
Good move can't hurt.

I'm not questioning the legitimacy of the claim, but 25% of people can't read seems almost unreal. If true, it's surely a problem. One that's pretty easy to fix also. Get them when they are young.

RE: Awesome
By inighthawki on 5/28/2014 5:28:07 PM , Rating: 2
I know people like to rip on America's poor education system compared to other countries, but this is just pure BS. I don't know where on Earth they got that 25% from, but there's simply no way that's true. Now granted I've never lived in inner city neighborhoods with poor schools in poverty, but I have a decent sample size and from where I have lived, I've never met a single person who couldn't read. Not one.

RE: Awesome
By inperfectdarkness on 5/29/2014 8:31:48 AM , Rating: 2
I spend a significant amount of time online. I'd say that the correct figure is probably closer to 50% of the population is illiterate.

RE: Awesome
By GulWestfale on 5/29/2014 7:25:04 PM , Rating: 1
great program! maybe with this initiative, mick's spelling, grammar, and ability to form coherent sentences will finally improve!

who am i kidding...

RE: Awesome
By Alexvrb on 5/29/2014 10:56:03 PM , Rating: 2
I'm going to start calling you GulWestfail.

RE: Awesome
By GulWestfale on 5/30/2014 3:17:45 PM , Rating: 3
well, have you seen his recent article about "hatchette"? you know the one where he mentions this company "hatchette"? can't even get the name right...

RE: Awesome
By tayb on 5/29/14, Rating: 0
RE: Awesome
By Reclaimer77 on 5/29/2014 9:13:46 AM , Rating: 3

There, now stfu.

America's literacy rate is nowhere NEAR that low, by any objective measure.

RE: Awesome
By amanojaku on 5/29/2014 9:34:22 AM , Rating: 2
Really? Because this is what's in your link:
In 1993, the US Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook published that the United States had a 97.9% literacy rate for persons age 15 and over having completed 5 or more years of schooling ,[4] and 99.99% in 2008.
I don't think anyone is considered "literate" after having completed five years of schooling. That's a sixth-grade reading level - for anyone 15 or over...

But, before you even get to the CIA's statistic, there's ANOTHER one:
National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)

As in 2008, roughly 15% of the sample could function at the highest levels in all three categories. Roughly 40% were at either basic or below basic levels of proficiency in all three categories.

This government study showed that 21% to 23% of adult Americans were not "able to locate information in text", could not "make low-level inferences using printed materials", and were unable to "integrate easily identifiable pieces of information."

Thus, if this bottom quantile of the study is equated with the functionally illiterate, and these are then removed from those classified as literate, then the resultant literacy rate for the United States would be at most 65-85% depending on where in the basic, minimal competence quantile one sets the cutoff.
I provided some of this in another post, along with the source link... But I guess no one... read it. I mean, you didn't even read your own source.

RE: Awesome
By Reclaimer77 on 5/29/2014 9:58:31 AM , Rating: 1
Do you know what literacy means? It means that you can read and write.

You're just cherry picking based on proficiency and reading levels, which is an entirely different argument.

Point is, making a blanket statement that "1 in 4 Americans are illiterate"
is horsesh*t.

But, before you even get to the CIA's statistic

Right let's just glance right past that one, because it blows your theory apart, and cherry pick.

RE: Awesome
By amanojaku on 5/29/2014 10:35:51 AM , Rating: 4
Do you know what literacy means? It means that you can read and write.

You're just cherry picking based on proficiency and reading levels, which is an entirely different argument.
Yes, better than you, it seems:
1. able to read and write.
2. having or showing knowledge of literature, writing, etc.; literary; well-read.
3. characterized by skill, lucidity, polish, or the like: His writing is literate but cold and clinical.
4. having knowledge or skill in a specified field: literate in computer usage.
5. having an education; educated.
6. a person who can read and write.
7. a learned person.

From Latin litteratus (learned)

Word Origin & History

early 15c., from L. lit(t)eratus "educated, learned," lit. "one who knows the letters," formed in imitation of Gk. grammatikos from L. lit(t)era "letter."
There is no SINGLE definition of literacy. Educators define literacy NOT by your ability to read the words, but by your ability to UNDERSTAND the meaning. What's the point of being able to read "entry prohibited" if you don't understand it means "stay out"? 99 out of 100 people can read it, but 25 out of 100 people don't get it.

FYI, even the CIA admits this:
This entry includes a definition of literacy and Census Bureau percentages for the total population, males, and females. There are no universal definitions and standards of literacy. Unless otherwise specified, all rates are based on the most common definition - the ability to read and write at a specified age. Detailing the standards that individual countries use to assess the ability to read and write is beyond the scope of the Factbook.
According to the CIA world factbook, 80% of the world is literate. BS, since the results are submitted by the countries, NOT DETERMINED BY THE CIA.

It amazes me that so many people in this article think illiteracy is limited to being unable to read and write your own name. Nearly every illiterate person can do that, and they're still illiterate. Then again, it seems many of you are illiterate. You see the words, but you don't get them. Study etymology.

RE: Awesome
By sigmatau on 5/29/2014 2:59:50 PM , Rating: 2
When looking up words in a dictionary, the first definition is the most common one by a huge margin. The others are less likely used. Yes, a word can have various meanings, but we are going by what the most common definition of literate means, which is being able to read and write.

I don't usually agree with Reclaimer, but you are cherry picking your facts. If you want to go into levels of education, then that is something else. You may have spent 80 years going to school, but that does not mean the next person is not literate.

RE: Awesome
By mike66 on 5/29/2014 11:27:52 AM , Rating: 3
There's no point in reading if you don't comprehend what you are reading, basic literacy is the worst joke, by the time someone sounds out the word they have no time to comprehend it and wham that sign said STOP.
It does not matter though as stupid people are always the majority there's nothing minor about that.

RE: Awesome
By tayb on 5/29/2014 11:09:43 AM , Rating: 1
The headline here is children's literacy. I bolded the word "children" for you so that it would be easier for you to read.

Although you may have developed basic literacy skills you clearly haven't developed critical reading skills. You sent a link with statistics for everyone BUT children. Not only that but the statistics are completely meaningless as they only measure literacy for people who are over the age of 15 and have completed 5 or more years of schooling. It should be no surprise to anyone (but you I guess) that children who go to school learn to read.

Here are some actual facts about children's literacy.

Let me know if you need me to read through those statistics for you and spell it out in a simpler way for you to understand. I can go slow for those with reading issues.

RE: Awesome
By sigmatau on 5/29/2014 3:01:48 PM , Rating: 2
First line in article:

"1 in 4 Americans don't know how to read and literacy rates are declining; but LeVar Burton is battling back"

No where does he mention children.

RE: Awesome
By monomer on 5/29/2014 3:05:36 PM , Rating: 3
Oh boy, an argument about reading comprehension for an article about illiteracy.

The headline here is children's literacy. I bolded the word "children" for you so that it would be easier for you to read.

For your easy reference, I'll repost the headline here:

Reading Rainbow Kickstarter Aims to Combat America's Illiteracy Problem

I don't see anything here about children, but let's move on to what it says in the article.

Right now: 1 in 4 kids in the US will grow up illiterate

Again, if we go through and try to actually comprehend what is written, this does not say that 25% of children are illiterate, which is what it seems you are saying in your post. The claim here is that 25% of people will be illiterate when they grow up.

If you are going to attack someone on their critical reading skills, please try to brush up on the topic at hand first.

RE: Awesome
By Solandri on 5/28/2014 5:28:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I'm not sure where they got that stat. All the numbers I've been able to find put the U.S. at about a 1% illiteracy rate. The percentage goes up when you define it as "can't read well" (e.g. below 5th grade reading level) or "can't read English." Based on the wording in the infographic, I suspect it's 1 in 4 kids can't read at their current grade level.

As much as I applaud the effort, if the situation is that dire, it seems like this should be a high priority target for the $billions we spend on public education. Not for a private kickstarter trying to raise just $1 million.

RE: Awesome
By esteinbr on 5/28/2014 5:47:20 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't that always the case with statistics. You always have to know all the details to fully understand what it's saying and as is typical those details don't seem to be readily available.

I could make an equally shocking statement that 50% of our students have a below average reading level. An astute observer would noted this is fully expected and could never be "fixed" but it would still get headlines.

RE: Awesome
By Belegost on 5/28/2014 6:45:47 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure where the 25% comes from either, but the 1% estimates are pretty far off.

The best data I have seen is from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. The 2003 results were from a sample of around 20000 adults spread across social and economic situations (including prison inmates.) The surveys are in person, and cover multiple types of literacy, from being able to read a newspaper article, or novel, to being able to properly fill out a form or questionnaire, or fill in a receipt form properly (with access to a calculator.)

The 2003 results showed around 3% (of those who had enough English ability) being completely nonliterate. A further ~10% were considered to be below basic literacy.

So, going by that, 12-15% illiteracy seems like a reasonable figure.

RE: Awesome
By Belegost on 5/28/2014 6:49:16 PM , Rating: 2
I should point out that the 1% estimates are generally taken from census data, which relies on self-reporting (for those that reply at all.) The problem is that people with literacy issues often don't realize, or won't admit to them - they may not realize it because their life doesn't require much reading/writing and their abilities are sufficient for that. At the same time, illiteracy has a lot of stigma attached to it, people don't want to admit they have problems reading, so they claim they don't.

RE: Awesome
By mushkins on 5/28/2014 5:36:20 PM , Rating: 2
They are definitely twisting words, but read into it. They're specifically stating that 1 in 4 are "illiterate" not that they flat out can't read. The criteria they are using to deem someone illiterate is undisclosed, it could be that they dropped out of school, or that they had to take remedial english classes in high school/college, or just cant read at the average reading level of people their age. We simply don't know.

That being said, illiteracy is no doubt a massive problem in the US and this kickstarter is actually a legitimate plan to help combat it. It's not some BS "raise the school budget" where it all gets filtered into politicians pockets, it's a private organization directly developing and donating technology assets to underprivileged schools.

What raises my eyebrows here is that they only mentioned giving the app to schools. What about the tablets to run it on? The schools who genuinely need this kind of program are the schools that don't have money for textbooks, much less ipads. Likewise, the ones that are incorporating ipads in the classroom in k-8 are the schools in more affluent areas where illiteracy is far, far less of a problem. Kind of a big point they need to address.

RE: Awesome
By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/2014 5:53:53 PM , Rating: 1
Reminds me of the Valtrex commercials that claimed 1 in 3 adults had genital Herpes. I was like, wtf!? No way that can be true.

25% illiteracy rate in America? That's just BEYOND impossible.

RE: Awesome
By atechfan on 5/28/2014 6:52:58 PM , Rating: 5
Depends on how it is defined. 25% being unable to read at all? Highly unlikely. 25% not being able to form a coherent sentence when writing? A quick perusal of the typical internet comment section seems to support that.

RE: Awesome
By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/2014 7:01:42 PM , Rating: 1
The problem is they are using the word "illiterate". Which means, can't read or write.

Right now, 1 out of every 4 children in America will grow up illiterate.

Now I guess it's too much to ask for people advocating literacy to actually use the English language properly lol.

I agree with you that reading and writing skills are on the decline, especially on the Internet. But that's a FAR cry from claiming 1-4 will be illiterate.

RE: Awesome
By TSS on 5/29/2014 5:28:02 AM , Rating: 2
According to wikipedia it wouldn't be so far off if you'd consider illiterate as "functionally illiterate". Then the literacy rate in 2003 was between 65% and 85%.

It'd still be a problem. There's not much point in reading if you can't understand what the text is saying. If you want an example just think of any legal document. I can read those just fine but understanding what's in the text is a real chore.

If you want another example just look at Jason and his opening paragraph. "1 in 4 will grow up illiterate" does not mean the same thing as "1 in 4 Americans don't know how to read". Even when you replace illiterate with functionally illiterate.

RE: Awesome
By atechfan on 5/29/2014 5:42:54 AM , Rating: 2
You are looking at it as all or nothing. Generally, people define literacy as being able to communicate effectively in writing. So while many can sound out basic words, they cannot write a paragraph to effectively convey an idea. They are what is known as functionally illiterate.

RE: Awesome
By Reclaimer77 on 5/29/2014 8:36:05 AM , Rating: 2
No I'm just being (no pun) LITERAL.

Sorry I just don't see a grey area here. "Illiterate" has a very specific meaning. And no, I didn't know that people had transformed that into meaning "communicate effectively in writing".

In fact, where are you getting that from? If you polled most people and asked them what "literacy" was, the FIRST thing they would say is 'reading and writing'. I mean, we all know that.

Look these people have a cause, and like anyone with a cause, they feel one of the ways to advance it is to vastly overstate the situation to gain more support. I guess everyone does it to some extent. They could have said "functionally illiterate", but they chose not to.

That's what we do today, turn every issue into a crisis.

RE: Awesome
By retrospooty on 5/29/2014 10:29:28 PM , Rating: 2
Its like unemployed and underemployed. Totally different meanings, but similar symptoms of a bigger issue. It would work better if they said under-literate. 25% still seems crazy. My wife teaches 1st grade, 100% of her 1st graders can read year in and year out, and this is AZ. We are not anywhere near the high end in education scale, damn near the bottom.

Then again, even when I was a kid they have always said 1 in 5 high school grads are unable to find any given continent on a globe. I would like to know where all these people are, because I just don't see them. I have known a lot of really dumb people in my life but they could all read, even the least functional of them. These must the mythical 44% of college grads that work in fast food. LOL.

RE: Awesome
By KoolAidMan1 on 5/29/2014 8:24:25 PM , Rating: 3
Why use facts when you have gut opinion!?

Standard reclaimer idiocy. You're a loon and a moron but you make me laugh

RE: Awesome
By hpglow on 5/28/2014 7:36:40 PM , Rating: 2
Aside from inner city schools where their function seems to be feeding kids instead of educating them there are also cultures in America that don't allow women to go to school past the 6th grade and never allow them to learn math. Also don't exclude people with severe mental disabilities that can't learn to read or all the kids that will die before learning and possibly 25% isn't too far fetched. I've seen and spoken to plenty that went 12 years through public school and can't write basic English good enough to be understood and their spoken English isn't much better.

RE: Awesome
By sigmatau on 5/28/2014 10:48:03 PM , Rating: 4
Rural schools are far worse. Not sure what is this fascination with people and quoting things about "inner city schools" as though the rural ones are the sunshine in a dark world of sad statistics.

RE: Awesome
By amanojaku on 5/28/2014 7:43:50 PM , Rating: 2
It is likely the claim is derived from the "National Adult Literacy Survey" released by the US Dept of Education in 2002. It has several statistics and classifies various levels of literacy.

In simple terms, nearly everyone in the US can read short phrases and numbers. Even a poor drunk knows his can of rotgut is 99 cents because it says so on the sign, even when it's written in words instead of numbers. And he can do the math for his change, because I've seen them argue over the penny they were supposed to get back (or whatever it was).

It all breaks down when you want more than that. Say, the ability to read a book, contract, or even a short letter. That's where the 25% comes in. One in four people are functionally illiterate: they couldn't read a court summons or an employment ad. Even if they can say the words and understand each word individually, they wouldn't understand the sentence. This happens all the time - someone will read a sentence to you and ask you what it means. A functionally literate person would be able to understand it on his own provided the sentence was clear. Even if you are unfamiliar with the topic, you would be able to research it on your own, then use what you've learned to figure out the sentence.

The point behind this is that there is a connection between illiteracy and socioeconomic status - criminals and the poor tend to have low literacy rates. Many experts agree that illiteracy leads to or continues to foster crime and poverty. On the other side of the spectrum, people with the highest levels of literacy have the highest socioeconomic status. Now, no one is fronting the idea that teaching people to read and write will eliminate crime and poverty. They do believe, correctly, that raising literacy gives people more opportunity to avoid crime and poverty.

Let's use a real example: most of us are techs. Many of us are self-taught. Competent self-taught individuals have high literacy rates, and rarely need someone else's input to understand something. I decided to learn C++ and Windows programming because a client had a need and I couldn't find an adequate solution. This will be my first commercial application, and I'm surprised how much I've learned in three weeks. At the moment, I have something that compares to two products made by different companies, the smallest of which has 8,000 employees. This is due to my ability to read 10,000+ words a minute (thank god! Stroustrup's book is 1,200 pages, and MSDN...) and my mastery of the literacy areas. Simply put, I've taught myself to obtain information, process it, and apply it quickly. Consequently, I've managed to have a six-figure career covering a variety of technical disciplines despite my lack of a college degree.

Literacy is the most important skill you can teach someone, because a literate person can teach himself.

Page xvi:
Twenty-one to 23 percent — or some 40 to 44 million of the 191 million adults in this country — demonstrated skills in the lowest level of prose, document, and quantitative proficiencies (Level 1). Though all adults in this level displayed limited skills, their characteristics are diverse. Many adults in this level performed simple, routine tasks involving brief and uncomplicated texts and documents. For example, they were able to total an entry on a deposit slip, locate the time or place of a meeting on a form, and identify a piece of specific information in a brief news article. Others were unable to perform these types of tasks, and some had such limited skills that they were unable to respond to much of the survey.

Page 2:
Through a consensus process, this panel drafted the following definition of literacy, which helped set the framework for the young adult survey: Using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.

Page 3:
Further, the committee endorsed the notion that literacy is neither a single skill suited to all types of texts, nor an infinite number of skills, each associated with a given type of text or material.

Prose literacy — the knowledge and skills needed to understand and use information from texts that include editorials, news stories, poems, and fiction; for example, finding a piece of information in a newspaper article, interpreting instructions from a warranty, inferring a theme from a poem, or contrasting views expressed in an editorial.

Document literacy — the knowledge and skills required to locate and use information contained in materials that include job applications, payroll forms, transportation schedules, maps, tables, and graphs; for example, locating a particular intersection on a street map, using a schedule to choose the appropriate bus, or entering information on an application form.

Quantitative literacy - the knowledge and skills required to apply arithmetic operations, either alone or sequentially, using numbers 4 . . . . . . Introduction embedded in printed materials; for example, balancing a checkbook, figuring out a tip, completing an order form, or determining the amount of interest from a loan advertisement.

You know America is screwed when
By chmilz on 5/28/2014 7:38:44 PM , Rating: 2
Education needs to be Kickstarted by the public.

RE: You know America is screwed when
By amanojaku on 5/28/2014 8:01:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not so sure about that. In some ways this could be a good thing. I'm not thrilled when taxes are spent on things I don't agree with, like "No Child Left Behind". A Kickstarter campaign is something you contribute to because you believe in it. Personally, I think the school systems are so bad in this country that I don't expect my kids to learn anything. I feel bad for the teachers, as well, because many don't like what they're expected to do, either. More than one has contemplated quitting because the curricula ignore the kids who don't try, and crush the kids who do. The only reason I would tell any parent to send their kids to school is to develop social skills. The true learning occurs at home.

I donated because I believe in it. I watched the show when I was younger and I've always liked the standards it set. Wish I had more to give.

By kmmatney on 5/29/2014 3:20:47 PM , Rating: 2
Our local schools are very good (Centennial, Colorado). It was just announced at my son's high school that the 2014 graduating class earned $9 million in scholarships. There is a great education to be had for kids who actually willing to put in the work.

RE: You know America is screwed when
By FITCamaro on 5/29/2014 8:16:22 AM , Rating: 2
News flash. Education is already "kickstarted" by the public. Who do you think pays for education? Magic money trees?

And the public school system is working exactly as intended. Putting out uneducated drones who think the government is there to run their lives for them.

By atechfan on 5/29/2014 8:24:45 AM , Rating: 2
The sad thing, that is the exact purpose of public education. That is why the government hates homeschooling and private schools so much, unless it is their kids going to private schools, then it is ok.

By HardwareDufus on 5/28/2014 8:15:51 PM , Rating: 2
25%, 1 -4 in the USA can't read? Bogus Statistic...All credibility lost. Unbelievable.

I'm a US citizen and have lived in every corner of the country. Presently I'm in Sonora Mexico, living in a small pueblo in the Sierra Madres Occidental. People are farmers, ranchers, miners, etc... There isn't 25% illiteracy here!

The shame of the Reading Rainbow program to use such a bogus statistic in order to ask people for money. Terrible.

By PaFromFL on 5/29/2014 8:20:49 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps 1 in 4 residents of the USA can not read English, but are not necessarily illiterate in their native language. Or maybe Geordi needs to work on math literacy instead.

By fic2 on 5/29/2014 12:05:35 PM , Rating: 2
This is a good point. My girlfriend is from Hungary. She moved to the U.S. 5-6 years ago. My gf can read/write in both Hungarian and English. She taught herself English and made it through an Associates program. Her parents moved here ~15 years ago and are well educated in Hungarian, but still struggle with English. We have helped them buy a new car and are currently helping to refinance their house.

Her daughter also just finished 4th grade and is reading below grade level. She could barely read when her mom and I started dating. Now she reads to me every night and has made great progress - she progressed 2 years this past year. Her comprehension is still somewhat behind, though.

I attended the ESL (English as a Second Language) thing at her school a couple of weeks ago. Other than us, there were three families from Asian countries and two from Hispanic. The Asian parents spoke English but the Hispanic parents spoke only Spanish. This might have been because they provided a Spanish interpreter but not for other languages.

I think the key to reading as a child is having someone read to. Kids are excited about reading but can really only learn the very basic level in school. Having someone at home that can and will help them read is huge.

By HardwareDufus on 5/29/2014 1:29:12 PM , Rating: 1
MY previous comments aside,

if you were to clarify 25% illiteracy as 25% of the population cannot fully comprehend material written at an 8th grade reading level (normal 13 year old), then I would agree.

may people do not read carefully enough to fully comprehend what they've read. that is a learned skill. it's careful, purposeful reading.

perhaps all of our forms of instant communication with it's clipped text, abbreviated words, incomplete sentences, lack of attention to details like spelling and grammar..... are all slowly degrading our ability to (or desire) to read comprehensive text and fully comprehend it.

my own contribution above is a testimony. I couldn't even be bothered with authoring it correctly.

By Gunbuster on 5/29/2014 10:46:53 AM , Rating: 2
Props to LeVar for putting in a lot of time and work for the kickstarter rewards. Most celebs would not commit to a fraction of that.

RE: Time
By fic2 on 5/29/2014 12:09:08 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I was surprised at the level of his commitment. Good for him. Definitely goes up a couple of notches in esteem from my pov.

I'd believe it
By pandemonium on 5/29/2014 12:19:54 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not surprised by the illiterate numbers, but there's some fine context in that pork. Most people can't seem to read the entirety of what's said and only pick out 1 or 2 words and focus on that. In fact, the news does this a lot with rocket packs, just to get the viewers attention, while facing rainbows, at the dangerous atrocities that are out there (that are tremendously blown out of proportion), and people blindly listen to it still (probably because they're staring at blinding rainbows).

Context, people, context!

By FITCamaro on 5/29/2014 8:14:45 AM , Rating: 2
It's because they're lazy and don't bother to try. Everyone goes to school. Everyone is taught. If you don't bother to learn, that's your fault. And your parents fault for not making you.

By rountad on 5/29/2014 12:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
$20000: act out your favorite ST:TNG Geordi scene

$50000: act out your favorite Roots Kunta Kinte scene

OAN, I think that he's a great guy for this and more, but it's kind of sad that it's even necessary.

Over 2 mill
By Grimer21 on 5/29/2014 4:31:21 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like it's already over $2M, awesome! Combat illiteracy!

By sweetca on 5/30/2014 9:04:17 PM , Rating: 2
College Grads
By blwest on 5/29/2014 5:14:47 PM , Rating: 1
I wonder if this program applies to college graduates. I know a recent college grad who cannot use (their, they're and there) in proper context. Forget about using (your and you're), or using an apostrophe correctly to indicate possession. In addition, spelling with spell check is impossible.

This is all found on their LinkedIn page. You'd think you'd put a little thought into proofreading something that could help land you a job.

Recent college grads complain that there aren't any jobs for them. I think I know why.

Look at all these stupid nerds
By sweetca on 5/30/2014 9:02:31 PM , Rating: 1
Arguing about the most trivial and pedantic shit. Some kids can't read at all; some can read, but not very well. Ok?

So, how about you just stfu, and toss $10 their way. Perhaps a kid somewhere will end up benefitting from this program, grow up slightly more literate, and engage you in pointless arguments on a message board. Win, Win?.

Not interested in donating? Then just go back to comparing videocard charts or something.

Goddamn, sometimes I really hate people.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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