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Literacy in America

As one of the most developed nations in the world, there is a lot of expectation placed on the United States of America when it comes to literacy rates. Unfortunately, recent studies and statistics show that America is falling behind in this regard. The state of reading literacy in America is concerning, and it is essential to understand exactly where we stand compared to other countries and what can be done to improve this situation.

According to the 2019 report conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation's Report Card, only 35% of fourth-graders and 34% of eighth-graders in the country were rated as proficient in reading. These rates have remained relatively stable since the last assessment in 2017. When the results were broken down by race and ethnicity, it showed that the majority of students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, were struggling to meet the expected level of proficiency.

One of the most significant risks posed by the low reading literacy rates in America is the impact it has on the future of our children. Experts have found that children who struggle with reading are more likely to dropout of high school, have limited access to better-paying jobs, and are more vulnerable to poverty. This trend is troubling as it can have significant and long-lasting effects on both the student and the economy.

Compared to other developed nations, America is falling behind in terms of literacy. In the 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings, which assessed students in 79 countries, the US ranked 13th in reading literacy and only 24th in math literacy. This indicates that the US is not doing enough to improve the reading and math skills of young students.

Efforts are being made to improve the state of reading literacy in America, and several organizations are actively working towards this end. In addition to the academic curriculum, policymakers, schools, and teachers must focus on factors such as poverty, access to books, and teacher training to improve student proficiency. By providing more resources and support systems to underprivileged schools and students, we can take the necessary steps to reduce the gap in literacy levels.

In conclusion, the state of reading literacy in America is concerning and requires urgent action to improve. By investing in early education, creating supportive environments, and increasing equity in access to resources, we can address the gaps in reading proficiency, ensuring every child in America has an equal shot at success.


1. National Center for Education Statistics. (2019, October). The Nation's Report Card: 2019 Reading Highlights. Retrieved from

2. OECD. (2018, December). PISA 2018 Results (Volume I): What Students Know and Can Do. Retrieved from

3. NAEP. (2020). Reading. Retrieved from

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