2 The Impact of Low Literacy During a Public Health Crisis

As those of us in the field know, low literacy has devastating consequences for tens of millions of people, in terms of health and well-being, the ability to earn family-sustaining wages and support their children’s success in school.  We see the statistics: more than 36 million adults in the U.S. cannot read, write, or do math above a third-grade level and 43% of adults with the lowest literacy levels live in poverty (ProLiteracy).  However, those numbers don’t tell the full story. The COVID-19 pandemic is magnifying the effects of low literacy, showing us just how dangerous it can be when people don’t have the skills to understand or evaluate basic health information.

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The Impact of Low Literacy During a Public Health Crisis

As those of us in the field know, low literacy has devastating consequences for tens of millions of people, in terms of health and well-being, the ability to earn family-sustaining wages and support their children’s success in school.  We see the statistics: more than 36 million adults in the U.S. cannot read, write, or do math above a third-grade level and 43% of adults with the lowest literacy levels live in poverty (ProLiteracy).  However, those numbers don’t tell the full story. The COVID-19 pandemic is magnifying the effects of low literacy, showing us just how dangerous it can be when people don’t have the skills to understand or evaluate basic health information.

(more…)