Giving adults the gift of Language and Literacy

LitNet Description

What Is Literacy?


The National Literacy Act defines literacy as “an individual’s ability to read, write, and speak in English, compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in society, to achieve one’s goals, and develop one’s knowledge and potential.”

Imagine not being able to:
  • Read a medicine label
  • Fill out a job application
  • Ask directions in English
  • Balance your checkbook
  • Read a book to your child or grandchild
About 5,000 adults in south Berkshire County do not have a high school diploma. At least 3,000 adults in south Berkshire County are functionally illiterate, and there is a high likelihood that their children will be functionally illiterate too. (Massachusetts Dept. of Education 1995)
Nearly 20% of adults in Massachusetts are not functionally literate. Another 25% fall below the level of mastery that education reform envisions for high school graduates. About 9,000 young adults per year drop out of school (Massachusetts Dept. of Education 1995). In the United States 1 in 5 American adults are functionally illiterate.  An additional 34% are only marginally literate. (U.S. Dept. of Education)