Black literacy – Adult males lagging

The Village Foundation wants to reverse a decade-long trend of lagging reading skills in black males, the Associated Press reported Oct. 10.

The foundation, based in Alexandria, Va., hopes to create 200 community-based literacy clubs in the next five years to fight a literacy crisis among blacks.

An adult literacy study conducted by the Education Department found working black men are likely to read five grade levels behind their white peers in the workforce.

National reading tests in 1998 show young black males were up to three grade levels behind white students, and up to one-and-a-half grade levels behind black girls.

Robbie Sorenson, National Coalition for Literacy chair, said adult reading skill levels affect children as well.

“You can’t help your kids with their homework,” Sorenson said. “You may be unemployed or underemployed. All of those challenges combined beg for this to be a larger social priority.”  

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