Announcing a New PMA Project:
The Lifetime Literacy Foundation Is Up and Running

November 2006
by Susan Nicoletti

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Announcing a New PMA Project:The Lifetime Literacy Foundation Is Up and Running

by Susan Nicoletti

Readers often celebrate new books that focus on the critical issue of literacy. A few years ago, many loved Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader, a compelling tale of one woman’s carefully hidden illiteracy and tragic fate. This year brought Life Is So Good, George Dawson’s story of his functional illiteracy, written with Richard Glaubman. Dawson learned to write in his 98th year, and his proudest moment came when, at the age of 101, he signed his book contract with distinctive cursive writing instead of with his traditional X.

How pervasive is adult illiteracy? According to a study by the National Adult Literacy Survey (, approximately 22 percent of American adults are functioning at the lowest level of literacy—which means the first- or second-grade level. Of course, these adults are likely to have the lowest incomes and the most sporadic, inconsistent employment.

When National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) chairman Dana Gioia convened a “Reading at Risk” meeting in Los Angeles last year to discuss findings from the massive NEA survey of “literary reading,” he warned all of us attendees: If we didn’t leave thoroughly depressed, he said, it would mean …IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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