Literacy Research

/ Literacy Research


According to the U.S. Department of Education, 54% of U.S. adults aged 16–74—or about 130 million people—lack proficiency in literacy, reading below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level. Research shows a correlation between low literacy levels and illiteracy and generational cycles of poverty, poor health, and low high school graduation rates.

Findings show it costs America 2.2 trillion dollars per year and widens the economic divide in cities across our nation (Rothwell, 2020).1 Low levels of reading ability and illiteracy are at a crisis level; failing to address this crisis will create a greater economic divide in our nation.

If poor reading skills are correlated with intergenerational poverty, then a family/community reading model may break the cycle of poverty and provide students with an opportunity to advance academically through reading—in particular, reading outside of the classroom that is not solely motivated by extrinsic factors (such as grades).

Our Study

This study will examine the effect of a community-based literacy program on the reading behavior and reading scores of students living in low-income neighborhoods.

The study, Communities That Read Together, Grow Together, will launch on September 6, 2021, by recruiting 1,000 students from the county of Los Angeles and gathering data to measure if the literacy program made a difference in the students’ reading ability by measuring the study participants’ Lexile scores. The catchment area includes eight geographic areas in metro L.A., West, South, East, and San Gabriel Valley, intending to offer the literacy program to participants with a median household income of $36,000 or less.