The financial and social costs of poor literacy have been well documented (Greene, 2000). The consequences of poor reading and writing skills not only threaten the well-being of individual Americans, but the country as a whole. Globalization and technological advances have changed the nature of the workplace. Reading and writing are now essential skills in most white- and blue-collar jobs. Ensuring that adolescents become skilled readers and writers is not merely an option for America, it is an absolute necessity.
Learning to read and write is a fundamental right. Yet, 38 % of African adults (some 153 millions) are illiterate, two-thirds of these are women.
Africa is the only continent where more than half of parents are not able to help their children with homework due to illiteracy.
Adult literacy rates are below 50% in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.
Only 1 % of national education budget of most African governments is earmarked to address the issue of literacy.
The situation is alarming as literacy is a crucial step to acquire the basic skills needed to cope with the many challenges children, youth and adults will face throughout their lives.
For many disadvantaged young people and adults, non-formal education is one of the main routes to learning. Non-formal education reaches people in their own context and ideally in their own local language.
Our Approach and Benefits
One often-overlooked tool for improving students’ reading, as well as their learning from text, is writing. Writing has the theoretical potential for enhancing reading in three ways. First, reading and writing are both functional activities that can be combined to accomplish specific goals, such as learning new ideas presented in a text (Fitzgerald and Shanahan, 2000). For instance, writing about information in a science text should facilitate comprehension and learning, as it provides the reader with a means for recording, connecting, analyzing, personalizing, and manipulating key ideas from the text. Second, reading and writing are connected, as they draw upon common knowledge and cognitive processes (Shanahan, 2006). Consequently, improving students’ writing skills should result in improved reading skills. Third, reading and writing are both communication activities, and writers should gain insight about reading by creating their own texts (Tierney and Shanahan, 1991), leading to better comprehension of texts produced by others.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” Maya Angeolu