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Importance of Literacy and Reading

There is no denying the impact that literacy has on almost every aspect of life. Children who struggle with reading and writing run the risk of falling behind in other subjects as well. Literacy can also impact a student’s future earning potential.

Albany Business Review contributor Dr. Kirk Panneton writes, “Children who have developed strong reading skills perform better in school and have a healthier self-image. They become lifelong learners and sought-after employees.” Given the importance of literacy, teachers and reading specialists play an integral role in a child’s education. They can make the difference between a student falling behind and excelling.

The Impact of Literacy at School

When students struggle with reading comprehension, they often find themselves struggling in other areas of their education. According to “The Impact of Poor Literacy in School Students” from Lynn’s Learning, “Children without foundation literacy skills are unlikely to excel in school and later studies.”

Literacy and communication go hand in hand. Students who are falling behind their peers in reading may find themselves struggling to understand instructions in different disciplines. Even students who excel in other subjects, like math, may not reach their full potential if they aren’t proficient in reading and writing.

On top of having a negative impact on a student’s overall progress, poor reading skills can also be detrimental to a student’s social well-being. According to the Lynn’s Learning article, “An inability to keep up with their classmates can lead to feelings of inferiority, low self-esteem and eventually a loss of confidence.” Having to repeatedly ask for help can be embarrassing for a student, which can cause a downward spiral in their performance.

This is why reading specialists play such an important role in a child’s education. Giving student’s the one-on-one instruction they need to overcome their reading difficulties not only improves their overall proficiency, but can also boost their self-esteem.

The Impact of Literacy at Work

Poor literacy can negatively impact a student’s future prospects on the job market. As Dr. Panneton points out, “In the workplace, [literacy] may mean being proficient in several computer programs, knowing how to research and solve complex problems, or handling multiple projects.” The instruction and attention a student receives in primary and secondary school can pay off in dividends as they enter the workforce.

It should come as no surprise that poor literacy skills have a negative impact on workers’ income. According to the article posted on Lynn’s Learning, workers with poor literacy earn an average of 30-42 percent less than their peers. Literacy can also impact a person’s ability to properly manage finances. There is a strong correlation between poverty and poor literacy.

Teachers and reading specialists can have a monumental impact on the trajectory of a student’s life. Understanding how to identify, diagnose and treat reading disorders is a vital skillset that can completely transform the lives of struggling students. Helping them overcome their difficulties with reading and writing can bolster their confidence, improve their grades and pave the way for success in their careers.

Learn more about TAMIU’s online Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction with a Specialization in Reading program.


Literacy Foundation: Consequences of Illiteracy

Albany Business Review: The Importance of Literacy in a Child’s Development

Lynn’s Learning: The Impact of Poor Literacy in School Students

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