Posted on Mar 19, 2023
Jose Cruz (upper left), CEO of San Diego Council on Literacy, speaks to our club. Shown are volunteers with some of the 350,000 new books the council has distributed to children since 2020
You probably don’t give a thought to the mechanics of reading, but for an increasing number of children, reading is difficult. Jose Cruz, CEO of the San Diego Council on Literacy spoke at our March 23, 2023 meeting about literacy statistics and ways to help. Currently, nearly two-thirds of children in the United Sates are not proficient in reading. Among low-income students, 4/5 aren’t on track with reading by fourth grade. Difficulties with reading can echo throughout life: students who aren’t on track to read by third grade are 4-fold less likely to graduate high school. Low literacy rates also have broad economic impacts.
In San Diego county, 34% of fourth graders read below basic levels. Multiple factors contribute to literacy rates including general poverty, lack of access to books, parents who themselves do not read well, and inconsistent use of effective teaching methods (click HERE to watch the video Cruz showed that discusses different methods to teach reading).
The Council seeks to unite the community in supporting literacy through advocacy as well as facilitating partnerships and resources. The Council serves over 100,000 people in San Diego county each year by working with 34 different agencies that provide services to promote reading and also sponsor book giveaways.
There are multiple ways that you can help increase literacy including donating new or like-new books to low-income communities, supporting programs like Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library that delivers new books to children, or volunteering to be a tutor for a child or adult.