Finding out this information inspired me to want to help adults who were illiterate learn to read. I wanted adults to have a safe place to go to learn how to read without judgement. I became a tutor in an adult literacy program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The people I met came from all walks of life, and various countries. I met a couple from Italy who wanted to earn their GED so that they would be able to get better jobs. First they needed to learn how to read. They were eager learners and were never late for a session.
Then there was a man who was 80 years old. As I taught him his alphabet, I looked at the wedding ring on his left hand. "How long have you been married?" I asked him. "Over 50 years, but my wife died recently." He responded. I felt so horrible for bringing up the subject. Then I realized over the course of working with him, that although his wife died, this man didn't roll over and die with her. He was working to accomplish a life long dream, learning to read.
According to an ABCNews article, "Living in the Shadows: Illiteracy in America" 7 million Americans are illiterate, 27 million are unable to read well enough to complete a job application and 30 million can't read a simple sentence.
Do you know anyone who is suffering with illiteracy in silence? Being illiterate impacts every area of a person's life as the above article shows.
It's never too late to learn to read and change the course of your life. Check out my previous post, "Impossible Things" which highlights George Dawson who learned to read and wrote his autobiography.