Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and analyze words. This seemingly basic skill set is essential to every leader. Unfortunately, according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, rates of illiterate adults in the United States are climbing. Illiteracy increases the chances of unemployment, poverty, incarceration and even poor health. Holding a job, managing household finances and budgets, even reading vital nutritional and health information are all difficult to impossible tasks without literacy. It is estimated that about one in five adults living in the United States today is “functionally illiterate”. This 20% of the population is unable to read well enough to fill out a basic job application, read a nutritional food label at the grocery store, or even fill out a form for government assistance. Without the most basic level of literacy, it is impossible to successfully function as a part of society today.

Literacy is essential not only to functioning within society, but it’s also essential to reaching one’s full potential as a contributing part of society including serving as a community leader.