Hispanic Literacy

Hispanic literacy in U.S. shows troubling signs
Federal report indicates a rising number of those 16 and older lack even basic skills
— reported by the Houston Chronicle(1)

An estimated 11 million U.S. adults lack the literacy skills to perform everyday tasks, while an increasing number of Hispanics struggle to do more than sign a form in English, a federal survey shows.


But every racial and ethnic group except for Hispanics improved in tasks ranging from reading materials arranged in sentences and paragraphs, computing numbers and comprehending documents such as bills.

Forty-four percent of Hispanics, ages 16 and older, do not have basic English skills, meaning they might be unable to use a television guide to find out what programs are on at a specific time or to compare ticket prices for two events. That is a substantial increase from 36 percent a decade ago, the last time the federal government released such a comprehensive literacy study.


While some of those assessed could be literate in another language, the findings are significant at a time when the Hispanic population is surging in Texas and across the country.

Economics seems to play a role in the increasing percentage of Hispanics deemed illiterate in English, said David Dahnke, who leads the English as a Second Language program at North Harris College.


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  1. Houston Chronicle links expire after a few days because they’re archived. If you want to access these articles after that, you either have to be a subscriber or go to the Houston Public Library and access the database using your Library Power Card.
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Author: Paloma Cruz

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