Imperial County adult literacy still a challenge
Learning to read in the Imperial Valley
Imperial Valley Press: 2.20.2014 by Heric Rubio
When Monica Woo came to the United States from Korea 15 years ago, the English language was as foreign to her as the country she was arriving in.
Even after becoming a citizen, it still took the El Centro resident a run-in with immigration officers before deciding to take on the task of learning the language.
“Two years ago I went to Korea and when I came back, immigration asked me what I had to declare, and I couldn’t answer,” Woo said.
So with the help of Adult Literacy Services at the Imperial Public Library, she embarked on a mission to not only speak, but read English as well, a decision that she says has left her feeling happier and more confident.
With the most recent Imperial County statistics available showing an illiteracy rate dangerously close to 50 percent, stories like Woo’s could likely be found throughout the Valley.
Last conducted in 2003, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy is a representative assessment of English literacy among American adults age 16 or older, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
During the assessment, 41 percent of Imperial County’s population at the time was lacking basic prose literacy skills; almost triple the national rate of 14 percent.
Prose literacy is the knowledge and skill to perform tasks such as searching for, comprehending and using information from continuous texts.
If the results of a 2013 U.S. Department of Education and National Institute of Literacy study of adult literacy in the nation are reflective of what individual counties look like, then those numbers haven’t changed much in the 10-plus years since the last NAAL. READ MORE !