Literacy Council of Kingsport's mission is to provide tutoring for adults and qualified children to improve their reading and writing skills and to be an ADVOCATE for literacy within the greater Kingsport Community.

Why Literacy is Important

"In the United States, an estimated 30 million people over the age of 16 read no better than the average elementary school child. Worldwide, nearly 800 million adults are illiterate in their native languages; two-thirds of them are women. Yet the ability to read and write is the basis for all other education; literacy is necessary for an individual to understand information that is out of context, whether written or verbal.

Literacy is essential if we are to eradicate poverty at home and abroad, improve infant mortality rates, address gender inequality, and create sustainable development. Without literacy skills, the abilities to read, to write, to do math, to solve problems, and to access and use technology, today's adults will struggle to take part in the world around them and fail to reacy their full potential as parents, community members, and employers." — ProLiteracy Organization website.

ProLiteracy champions the power of literacy to improve the lives of adults and their families, communities, and societies. ProLiteracy envisions a world in which everyone can read, write, compute, and use technology to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives.

Literacy Statistics

In the United States, 30 million people over the age of 16 —14 percent of the country's adult population — don't read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level or fill out a job application. 3

More than 60 percent of all state and federal corrections inmates can barely read and write. 1,4

Low health literacy costs between $106 billion and $238 billion each year in the U. S. — 7 to 17 percent of all annual personal health are spending. 4

Low literacy's effects cost the U. S. $225 billion or more each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment. 4

In Tennessee, 12% of adults 16 and older lack basic prose literacy levels.3

Tennessee's high school graduation rate for 2002 was 57%, which ranked it 48th in the nation. 1,2*

Kingsport and Sullivan County Literacy Statistics

In Sullivan County, approximately 14,525 adults aged 16 and older have less than adequate literacy skills.3

In 2000, 23.5% of Kingsport's population earned a Bachelor's degree or higher. 1,2

Global Literacy Statistics


Two-thirds of the world's illiterate adults are women.4

There are 774 million adults around the world who are illiterate in their native languages.3

Illiterate parents can’t read life saving instructions on poison labels or use the phone book to get help. 4

The reading level of a child's parents is the best indicator of how well that child will do in school. 4

1. National Institute for Literacy Fact sheet: Workforce Literacy
2. 1990, 2000 U. S. Census Figures
3. 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy
4. ProLiteracy America