Literacy in Mesa County

The ability to read, most people learn this skill at early age, but what happens if someone falls through the cracks. According to the National Adult Literacy Program twenty-five percent of adults in the United States can barely read and Mesa County is no exception to these findings.

The literacy center in Grand Junction helps more than 200 people a year over come this problem. Rosa Perez a student at the center lived in the United States for 13 years before she learned to speak or read English. Perez says, "it was hard for me to go to school for my children's meetings with their teachers. I couldn't talk to teachers about how they were doing in school but now that I have been taking these classes I feel I can communicate."

Immigrants aren't the only ones affected by illiteracy. A large number of students at the center are high school drop outs or people with learning disabilities, who have just learned how to get by. Christi Williams Director of the Literacy Program says these people have someone read their bills or they only use cash because they can't handle a checking account. She says they are dependent on family and friends but they find ways to coupe.

What happens when people can read enough to get by, but not past a 6th grade level? According to a World Education Survey one third of English speaking patients couldn't read and understand basic health related materials. Tomorrow on 11 News Colorado we will see what Mesa County is doing to combat this problem.

If you or someone you know needs help reading you can call the literacy center at 245-5522 to sign up for one of their free programs.