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One of my favorite books is Factfulness, which demonstrates how test subjects believe the world is poorer, less healthy, and more dangerous than it is due to misinformation; more relevant today than ever with misinformation of social media and bias news coverage.

I don’t always read; I consume books in an audible format thanks to Amazon Audible. I am beyond thankful I have options on how I want to take in new information.

Others are not as fortunate; 21% of U.S. adults fall into the illiterate/functional illiterate category while nearly 2/3 of all 4th graders are reading below grade level. This is not a race problem as 35% of these numbers are white, 34% Hispanic & 23% African American.

There does, however, seem to be a disparage of literacy rates in the South Vs. North.

I grew up in Oakland County, MI, which at one point before the automotive industry crashed was in the top five wealthiest counties in the United States. Reading was heavily emphasized during my school days; we had programs that rewarded students for reading books. By the time I was in 3rd grade, I was placed in an Advanced Reading class despite English being my second language. We had to read countless books for book reports that we had to handwrite out continuously.

Fast forward to moving to Atlanta in 2006 and raising two boys with Dyslexia in the South, and I learned the approach to reading and education is… different. Both of my boys had to spend some time in pullout classes from their mainstream classes to overcome their reading disabilities. We did this only long enough for our children to get the help they needed while working with professionals out of the school to get our boys to speed. Why did we rush it? Because Special Education is remedial education; it is not even taught on grade level. And while we would like to believe every person who makes up the school faculty is there for the right reasons, they are not. Students like mine qualify for an Individual Education Plan, which gives the school extra money for my boys’ special education needs. The problem with this approach is the school also will lose some of these dollars when children are pulled out of Special Education. This scene played out when my oldest son was in 4th grade; the principal at the time tried to prevent my son from reentering his mainstream fourth-grade class. Thanks to his teachers, we got our son pushed back into the mainstream, and that principal was removed from the school the following school year.

If this situation played out for my boys, it is playing out elsewhere across the US. Something to think about as we observe International Literacy Day today.

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Passion for People + Excellence

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