What Are Some Key Findings in Adult Literacy Research?

Adult literacy research is plentiful. Here are some statistics that stand out: Adult illiteracy is the most prevalent in South Asian, Arab and sub-Saharan African countries, where illiteracy rates are 40 to 50 percent. The illiteracy rate goes down to 10-15 percent in East Asia and Latin America.

In developed countries, the illiteracy rate continues to fall to only a few percent.1 However, these countries have challenges, too. For example, more than 36 million adults in the United States cannot read, write or do math above a third-grade level. Approximately 43 percent of illiterate adults in the United States live in poverty.

Another interesting finding is how adult illiteracy impacts children. One study published study showed that children from highly educated families experience 30 million more words by the age of three than a child from a low-literate home.2 A child’s future is greatly impacted by the literacy of his or her parents.

GFA World points out that there are more than 250 million women in Asia who are illiterate. It is with that knowledge that GFA World offers literacy classes across Asia. Women missionaries are trained to teach illiterate women how to read and write. Using chalkboards and paper, the students learn letters and words. The missionaries guide the students’ hands and help them become comfortable with using a pencil. Through these classes, tens of thousands of women have learned how to read and write, opening up employment opportunities for them and a hopeful future for their children.

Adults who learn to read can be more active members of society. They can read street signs, important documents, medical information, warning signs, menus and more. They are qualified for more employment opportunities, they can read contracts and they can do basic math. They can also participate more fully in church services as they can read God’s Word and song lyrics.

Please join us in our mission of teaching literacy in some of the poorest regions of the world. You can become intentional about offering others the miracle of being able to read and write. Will you give to GFA World’s literacy efforts today?

1 “Literacy.” Wikipedia. www.cs.mcgill.ca/~rwest/wikispeedia/wpcd/wp/l/Literacy.htm. Accessed 14 July 2019.
2 Hart, Betty, Risley, Todd. “The Early Catastrophe”. https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/TheEarlyCatastrophe.pdf. Accessed January 2022.