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What is Read > Lead > Achieve

Reading Statistics

One of four children in the United States will grow up unable to read — and we believe that's one too many. These children grow up to become the 36 million adults in the United States who continue to be illiterate or possess low literacy skills.

  • More than half of U.S. public school students live in low-income households.1
  • In some of the lowest income neighborhoods, there is just one book for every 300 children.2
  • Two-thirds of children from low-income families lack access to books.3
  • 79 percent of fourth graders from low-income households do not read proficiently – a key predictor of a child’s future educational and economic success.4
  • Poor educational outcomes are tied to poverty, unemployment, illness, dependence on welfare, social exclusion and crime.5
These statistics are alarming, but we believe that learning to read transforms us, creates leaders and is vital to achieving our potential as individuals and as a society. Pi Beta Phi is committed to the cause of literacy advocacy and will continue to work to create change in our communities.  

1. National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
2. Handbook of Early Literacy Research, 2006
3. National Center for Children in Poverty, 2013
4. Annie E. Casey, Kids Count, 2014
5. World Literacy Foundation, 2012 - See more at: https://www.firstbook.org/about-first-book/understand-the-need#sthash.qEK7piO5.dpuf

For additional information on the family literacy gap, please visit the Barbara Bush foundation website.