Corpus Christi Literacy Council takes on illiteracy in Coastal Bend

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Reading is something that people do daily in the Coastal Bend. They read signs, read books, and read emails.

But according to the National Center for Education, as of 2003, 17% of people in Nueces County lack in basic literary skills.

One local organization, Corpus Christi Literacy Council is pulling those books off the shelf and giving people a better read.

Criselda Leal, the executive director for the Corpus Christi Literacy Council, said that learning is a lifestyle.

“It’s never too late to learn and learning is lifelong, so it doesn’t matter how old anyone is, we can always learn something,” Leal said.

Research from the Correctional Educational Association suggested those who cannot read are more likely to be incarcerated. In fact, roughly 75% of inmates struggle with literacy.

“It was never more evident it’s so important that adults need to learn to read,” Leal said. “The number one predictor of success is the educational level of a mother for a student.”

Out of all adults with low English literacy skills, 35% of those are white, 23% are black, 34% are Hispanic, causing many to live in poverty.

“Illiteracy is expensive and so, what low literacy does is it keeps people in low paying jobs, (and) it is linked to poverty and incarceration,” she said. “The research is there. There’s that link. It’s linked to poor health.”

Research from the Harvard Medical School said that daily reading engages the part the brain that controls language.

Leal said that it more than just reading and writing its providing people life skills to survive.

“When we think about literacy, we think about reading, phonics and now we look at literacy with health literacy, financial literacy, computer literacy,” Leal said.

For people who are interested in signing up for classes, clickhere.

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