Improving local literacyshould be a concern forcity, county residents

Special to the Altus Times

Literacy affects families and communities and is an essential skill in the development of children and adults in the United States and around the world.

September is National Literacy Month and Sept. 8 is International Literacy Day.

Illiteracy is not only a problem in other countries, but also in this country and in Oklahoma.

By one survey, 14 percent of Oklahoma adults function at the below basic prose literacy level and can only perform very simple tasks such as signing a form. Another 29 percent have only basic reading skills in English and can perform simple everyday literacy activities, but cannot identify a specific location on a map.

The Southern Prairie Library System created a nonprofit literacy organization in 1985 to identify the needs in Jackson and Harmon counties. The Great Plains Literacy Council was formed from that initiative and literacy services were developed through the years.

“Many of us take literacy for granted. For the past years, the Great Plains Literacy Council has built a network of volunteer tutors who provide free instruction to adults who want to learn to read, write, or speak English,” said Bruce Davis, council president. “I am so proud that the volunteers are willing to reach out into the community.”

Organizers believe that literacy is not just about being able to read, but about encouraging adults to understand and apply language. In doing this, adult learners are not only enriching themselves, but strengthening their families and communities.

Consider taking time during the month of September to celebrate literacy by reading to children and going to the library.

For more information call 580-477-2890.

Special to the Altus Times

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