Oswego, NY Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Oswego County Legislature Chairman Barry Leeman and Mayor Randy Bateman recently issued proclamations recognizing September 2009 as Literacy Month. The proclamations were presented to Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County (LVOC) in recognition of 25 years of offering free reading assistance to adults. In the proclamations, Chairman Leeman and Mayor Bateman emphasize the need for highly literate citizens and the importance of literacy and lifelong learning. They encouraged county residents to come together to promote literacy in their communities.
LVOC is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a special dinner featuring author of The Teacher Who CouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Read, John Corcoran, on September 30. He will also be addressing OHS students in the morning and SUNY Oswego College Hour at noon. College Hour is held at Campus Center Auditorium Room 118 and is open to the public.
Corcoran has been on national television sharing his story and bringing awareness to the problem of adult illiteracy. His book is about his struggles with his inability to read and how his shame and embarrassment reinforced his desire to keep it a secret.
The United Nations identifies September 8thas International Literacy Day. First observed in 1967 by the United National Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), nations across the globe come together to promote literacy and demonstrate their commitment to providing education for all. UN organization now estimates that 771 million people — one-fifth of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s population — are illiterate.
In the United States alone, results of a 2003 survey revealed that 30 million people Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 14 percent of the U.S. adult population Ã¢â‚¬â€œ have below basic literacy skills. While these individuals may be able to do very simplistic activities such as signing a form, they are not able to perform many simple everyday tasks such as using a television guide to find a specific program. An additional 63 million adults (29%) have basic literacy skills, 95 million (44%) are in the intermediate category, and 28 million (13%) are considered to
have proficient literacy skills. Limited literacy skills cost business and taxpayers $20 billion in lost wages, profits and productivity annually, while eighty percent of manufacturers report a moderate to severe shortage of qualified job candidates. According to the American Medical Association, the inability to understand medicine labels and physicians instructions racks up annually to $73 million in unnecessary medical bills incurred by patients with low health literacy.
The correlation between a low literacy rate and a low paycheck is clear. Approximately 50% of the chronically unemployed are not functionally literate. Only 35 percent of individuals with below basic literacy skills are employed full-time, while 64 percent with proficient skills have full-time jobs. The salaries of adults with below basic literacy skills is, on average, $28,000 less than the salaries of adults with proficient skills.
For more information regarding LVOC programs, call 315-342-8839 or visit www.lvoswego.org.
LVOC is an agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County.