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What is Read > Lead > Achieve

Why Advocate for Literacy?

Even today, illiteracy remains a barrier to success for too many people. The National Assessment of Adult Literacy shows that one in four children in the United States grows up unable to read. These children will become the 36 million adults in the United States who struggle with low or no literacy skills throughout their lives.

  • 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
Pi Beta Phi believes that when even one child cannot read, that's one child too many. We also believe reading is an invitation to possibilities. Learning to read transforms us, creates leaders and is vital to achieving our potential as individuals and as a society. We're committed to literacy advocacy and will work to empower our members to create change in their communities. 
If you're ready to help advocate for literacy, you can start by sharing the statistics above (or other literacy data that's meaningful to you) on social media and with friends and family. You can find ideas for becoming a voice for literacy in your community here.

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