Literacy Matters

Perhaps you’ve seen them, the signs around town that are a meaningless hodgepodge of letters, and wondered what is that gobbledygook? They are a clever representation of what the members of our community who cannot read confront daily.

The numbers are staggering - in Orange County, about 20,000 children and adults are illiterate. The path to literacy is a long one—and studies have shown that one of the most important aspects of insuring that our students gain those all-important skills of reading and writing is to be sure their parents are literate.

Yet in Orange County about 14% of adults are functionally illiterate. On an airplane we’re told to put on our own oxygen mask first before helping our children with theirs.  Same with literacy: adult literacy is crucial. It means that parents can communicate with teachers and the school system, can read the labels on  prescription bottles, can help their youngsters with homework, and can even qualify for a better job.

Those intriguing signs are the work of Bootstraps PAC (—let’s applaud their effort to represent how bewildering it is not to be able to read. Let’s also acknowledge the terrific work of the Orange County Literacy Council. For 30 years, OCLC has been providing free tutoring for native born and newcomer adults in our community who want to gain or improve literacy skills, pass their citizenship tests, or get their GED. OCLC needs you! Be a tutor, donor, supporter, and cheerleader:

--Kate Douglas Torrey

President, Board of Directors, OCLC



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