Illiteracy is a fence upon which you cannot sit. By not knowing how to read, a person’s opportunities are painfully limited and those limits are passed on to their children. In countries where literacy rates are low, poverty levels, injustice, and teenage pregnancies are always high. Reading enables a person to see beyond themselves. Reading, and comprehending what was read, provides people with the tools they need to improve their lives.

There are very few areas of life today that aren’t affected by reading. Knowing how to read allows a person to get a job, a driver’s license, a home, food, and to communicate with others. Not everything worth knowing is broadcast on television, radio, or by a neighbor. The greatest knowledge of all time is nearly always found in books. Reading allows a person to expand their knowledge base and their perspective. By limiting their information sources to the spoken word, individuals isolate themselves from society, from government and from their own potential.

Every academic study ever done has shown that children need to be exposed to reading at an early age. They must be read to, encouraged to read, and surrounded by reading material. Children entering public school without letter awareness are severely hampered in all areas of learning. If they can’t read, they lose more than knowledge. They lose social standing, confidence, and future opportunities. Regardless of natural aptitudes, individuals need to read to learn other skills. Reading is crucial for their continued success and advancement.

Illiteracy is the glass ceiling that keeps people from moving up in their chosen career and in their culture. It interferes with their ability to understand and protect their rights and the rights of others. Reading opens the world to the reader. Reading is a skill that helps people think and speak clearly, to organize their thoughts into useful, productive actions. Reading helps people understand what is available to and required of them. Not being able to read is like walking around in a dark room, you’re bound to bang into things painfully, repeatedly and unnecessarily.

Reading is the Number One skill needed to survive and succeed in our world today.