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Journal entry 4 – Read.

Today will be a journal entry just talking about what reading does to your brain and how it can help you. But more importantly I’ll be talking about the affects not being able to read has on the individual, and society as a whole.

Individual Benefits

I’m sure many times throughout the course of your life you’ve been told to read. Everyone has, and I assume you can. ( I hope you can at least)

But did you know reading makes you smarter? Not in the not the simple way that most know like oh you learn stuff. But just the action of reading itself, will make you smarter.

Here is a quote from the Huntington post by Robert S. Wilson

Not only does regular reading help make you smarter, but it can also actually increase your brain power. Just like going for a jog increases your cardiovascular system, reading regularly improves memory function by giving you a good workout.

Secondly for you. It will improve your critical thinking skills.

A study from human brain mapping found that reading activates 5 different parts of the brain that all affiliate with the brain function for daily use.

The reading brain can be likened to the real-time collaborative effort of a symphony orchestra, with various parts of the brain working together, like sections of instruments, to maximize our ability to decode whats in front of us  

Scilearn.com (Science of learning blog by Carnegie Learning group)

So yeah, the brain does a lot for you. And its very very beneficial for you. But as entertaining as that information is this wasn’t to explain to you what you benefit from reading. But more or less to give you information on what you’ve been benefiting from you’re entire life whether you knew it or not, just having the ability to read you’ve been gaining all these benefits.

So have you ever thought of what would be happening to you if you couldn’t?

The answer for most, is most likely not. I don’t blame you because its something that not many people talk about nor know much of considering knowing whats happening when you can’t read isn’t relevant, well, when you can.

How reading and illiteracy affects our society and communities.

Literacy – Using printed/written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.

I highlighted the portion stating, to function in society, because the problem with illiteracy is that it doesn’t let you do exactly that. Function in society.

The cost of illiteracy in the United states alone is estimated to be over 300 billion dollars ( Stat from the World Literacy Foundation)

Literacy is the foundation of community and economic development. When everyone can read, whole communities thrive.


Adults who perform at Below Basic, or Basic reading levels (indicating they posses little to no literacy skills) Holds about 43% of the poverty rate. While on consisting of about 22% of the population of adults. Something that many of us do each and every day without question, has that much of an effect on society?

The scariest part is, that’s not the scariest statistic.

  • 85% of all juveniles who end up facing the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.
  • around 70% of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate.

The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure.

2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare.

These stats are directly from governorsfoundation.org

Now knowing that, lets look into the future of what will happen to the kids of these members of society.

This is a series of pie charts, that almost show the drastic decrease of likelihood of a child being successful with an incarcerated parent. Not that this child will never be successful, but just in how much more difficult it becomes to be successful.

So what can we do about it?

I know, its almost heartbreaking to me to even think about the stats that I’ve listed, not than anyone a part of it is guaranteed to be a statistic, but they become that more likely to.

If you’re looking to advocate for change in any way I wanted to give a short list of some things you can do.

  • Addressing gaps in literacy begins with educating yourself on the landscape of the issue. (which you just so happening to be doing right now.)
  • Learning and approaching illiterate.
  • Join and approach Literacy Associations for yourself and others outside of your community
    • Ex. International literacy association
  • Donate your books
    • African Library Project, Better world Books, Your local goodwill, drop off boxes. 
  • But if you’re willing to go the extra mile and you’re interested, one of the biggest things you can do to help is to donate your time locally. Your own community, after all, is where you can see your volunteer efforts make the most tangible difference.

I understand today was a little bit different but it was a spurt of the moment idea as I have been getting more into reading I happened to stumble across this topic and I wanted to be sure to do at least do something to spread the word.

Closing statements

Thank you for being here today. Reading through this, even if you don’t happen to take action, you already have just by informing yourself on this topic, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Spread the word yourself.

At the very bottom I will put the sources I’ve used for the statistic

And this is a link to the International Literacy Association so that you may find ways to get involved if you so wish to.

Thank you again for being here.


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Pelt, J. V. (2020, November 19). What is the connection between literacy and economic development? Words Alive. Retrieved November 12, 2021, from https://www.wordsalive.org/blog/2018/2/22/what-is-the-connection-between-literacy-and-economic-development.

Concordia University. (2021, March 16). Picking up a book for fun positively affects verbal abilities. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 11, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210316165011.htm

Apple, L. (2021, April 6). How reading helps individuals and Society. Right for Education. Retrieved November 12, 2021, from https://rightforeducation.org/2021/01/27/how-reading-helps-individuals-and-society/.

says:, G. F., says:, V. J., says:, W. N., says:, C., says:, A. T., says:, C., says:, L., says:, S., says:, T. W., says:, C., & says:, V. G. (2020, October 6). The reading brain: How your brain helps you read, and why it matters. Scientific Learning. Retrieved November 12, 2021, from https://www.scilearn.com/the-reading-brain/.

Sharma, S., Arora, K., Chandrashekhar, Sinha, R. K., Akhtar, F., & Mehra, S. (2021, January 8). Evaluation of a training program for Life Skills Education and financial literacy to community health workers in India: A quasi-experimental study. BMC Health Services Research. Retrieved November 12, 2021, from https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-020-06025-4.

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