Truer words were never written.

Truer words were never written.

It’s crazy for me to think that there are people out there who can’t read this blog post.

According to a 2003 survey done by the Institute of Education Sciences, 6% of people in Winona County lack basic literacy skills.  That might not seem like a lot, but that’s roughly 2,250 people out of 37,493, which is the population the survey gave Winona County. Put another way, 1 out of every 16 people is illiterate, so if the average class size 30 students, two of your classmates wouldn’t be able to read at an age-appropriate level.

the results of a study on Winona County literacy rates

This is the graph provided by the Institute of Education Sciences for Winona County literacy rates. For more information, see the estimates from National Education Center Statistic.

And this is in Minnesota. Other states, like Alabama, Georgia, New Mexico, and Texas had numbers in the 30% range, and even a few in the 40% range.  Many states have counties in the 20% range, while the highest percent in Minnesota is 12% illiteracy.

Though this survey is a bit outdated, there is still a surprising amount of illiterate people in the United States.  So, what can one do about this epidemic of illiterate peoples in the United States?

Winona State’s English Club YAWP is hoping to bring attention to the epidemic this year with Literacy Week events.  YAWP will be celebrating Literacy Week during the week of November 11-15 and all are welcome to come and participate.

Secretary Alex Paulson will be giving a presentation on the literacy epidemic. He is also hoping to get a couple of guest speakers in to give a variety of presentations to YAWP members and hopefully other students around campus.

Posters will be put up around campus giving specific dates, times, and locations of the speakers.

YAWP also wanted to go and read to elementary students in the Winona area, but unfortunately won’t be able to during Literacy Week this year. Volunteering to read to youth or elderly is always a great way to promote literacy.

YAWP is hoping to make Literacy Week an annual event on campus, though, to help bring awareness to the issue. As students at a public university, it’s important to remember how lucky we are to have had the education opportunities we’ve been given and to, in turn, reach out to others in our community and try to give them the same gifts we’ve been given.