Guest blog post from Seeds of Literacy
Did you read the latest election coverage? For that, thank your literacy skills.
When your child was sick, could you measure 1.5 teaspoons of cough syrup to help her feel better? High-five those literacy skills again.
When we say that 84% of adults in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood on Cleveland’s east side are functionally illiterate, and have reading, language, or math skills around a 4th-grade level or lower, do you understand how large 84% is?
Literacy skills touch all aspects of our lives; some of us are lucky to only imagine what lacking these skills feels like. For many adults in Cleveland — 66%, in fact — low literacy skills are a daily reality, making it hard to understand health care instructions, bus schedules and job applications.
That’s why Seeds of Literacy exists: to provide free, flexible and individualized basic education and GED test preparation to adults. With increased literacy skills, adults are more empowered to create and seize life’s opportunities.
Seeds of Literacy opened its east side location in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood in September 2014. With funding from the Cleveland Foundation and others, we’ve duplicated our award-winning program to provide personalized curricula and one-to-one tutoring, all completely free to students.
Cleveland has a serious need for adult literacy programs, but that shouldn’t overshadow the resiliency and determination of people with low literacy skills. Many adults in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood eagerly enroll at Seeds to further their education. Classes at Seeds East are often at-capacity, and we are expanding to meet student demand.
This is great news, because increased adult literacy levels have wide-reaching benefits.
Yoko, a recent GED graduate at Seeds East, delighted in how she and her kids could now do homework together. She’s right to celebrate: of all possible factors, the greatest determinant of a child’s future academic success is her mother’s reading skill. If we want to ensure our children have a bright tomorrow, let’s help a mother increase her skills today.
Workforce development is a current concern, as U.S. adults lag behind the rest of the world in workforce skills. But what are workforce skills? Literacy, numeracy and digital problem-solving — the very skills adults are learning every day at Seeds of Literacy.
Low adult literacy underpins almost every societal concern, from poverty and incarceration to food security and employability. But there is always hope, and adult education backs that hope.
Championing adult literacy, like the Cleveland Foundation has done through Seeds of Literacy, provides a multitude of positive outcomes for Cleveland — and for the hardworking people who give this city its heart.