Addressing Corpus Christi's Illiteracy Problem - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Addressing Corpus Christi's Illiteracy Problem

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CORPUS CHRISTI (Kiii News) -

The city of Corpus Christi has been added to another list, and it is not a nice one.

According to a study by the University of Connecticut, out of 76 of the largest cities in the U.S., Corpus Christi ranks at the bottom of the most literate.

The study looked at the size of the library system, the number of book stores and the number of newspapers being sold.

"What they measured is different from actual people being able to read," said Dr. Mary Gleason, executive director of the Corpus Christi Literacy Council. "They measured the availability of literature and things like that."

Gleason said to address literacy, one must also address illiteracy. Over the years she said there has been an ebb and tide of the illiteracy problem that just doesn't seem to go away. Still, the most basic educational skill has never been more important.

"The bar is higher than it used to be. You have to be a lot more literate now for most jobs," Gleason said. "The days of being able to get jobs with no education and not even being able to read very much, those are pretty much over. You need computer skills. You need literacy skills, for lots of jobs nowadays."

Dr. Gleason pointed to a Texas A&M University-College Station study on the illiteracy rate in Texas, and Nueces County does not fair well there either.

"The very, very lowest level, we have about 17-percent of Nueces County," Gleason said. "That is correct. That cannot read. Some portions of Nueces County, some zip code areas, that rate is much higher."

Still, there are lots of people who do want to better themselves. The Corpus Christi Literacy Council helps between 300-500 people a year learn to read, and you may be surprised, but many of them come from other countries.

Imelda, a former teacher from Mexico, is one of the many students at the Adult Literacy Council who are learning to read and write in English.

"I decided to come here because I needed learning more in English," Imelda said. "It's very necessary here for communication with other persons, and I need more fluency in English."
     
The Corpus Christi Literacy Council, located at the Greenwood Public Library at 4044 Greenwood Drive, hosts free English classes focusing on English as a second language, for both beginners and second-level students. Grammar, vocabulary and conversation are touched upon in these classes.

For more information on these classes, contact Vanessa Finnigan at 760-554-5242.