ERIC Number: ED281029
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Oct
Where Stands the Republic? Illiteracy: A Warning and a Challenge to the Nation's Press. A Report, with Recommendations to the American Newspaper Publishers Association and the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
Approximately 25 million adults are currently reading below the fifth-grade level, and another 35 to 40 million adults read between the fifth- and eighth-grade levels. This is particularly significant for the American press inasmuch as the average daily newspaper is written at a minimum of a ninth-grade reading level. A number of unexamined statements have become firmly entrenched in media discussion of the problem of adult illiteracy. It is a myth to assume that illiterate persons are reluctant to come forward, are mostly immigrants and nonwhites, and somehow "fell through the cracks." Neither is it accurate to blame the illiteracy problem on parents not reading to their children, television, or a shift away from phonics. Other myths include the beliefs that the illiteracy problem can be met on the local level, that the problem can be left to volunteers, or that more research is needed. America's illiteracy problem has had profound costs to our society and potential costs to a free press. The illiteracy problem has resulted in the emergence of two literacies--and what is more--two nations. The press can and must take steps to find and implement long-term solutions to the problem. The press can become an advocate of adult literacy and can work to eradicate the stigma surrounding adult nonreaders. Newspapers can use their pages to advance specific local goals, their outreach power to launch citywide or regional events promoting literacy, and their corporate power and prestige to help make the vast expansion of local programs possible. (Appendixes include guidelines for increasing the role of American newspapers in the war on illiteracy and information on useful contacts for newspaper literacy action.) (MN)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Cox Enterprises, Inc., Atlanta, GA.