The Need

The Need to Read

Basic skills such as reading are crucial to be developed at an early age. A British study found students’ level of ability at age 7 was “a good predictor of their future level of achievement. A relationship was found between the level of reading at age 7 and the level of achievement at examinations at 16.” (National Literacy Trust)

“The teaching of reading has come to be regarded as one of the highest priority areas in modern education because our schools are failing to teach reading effectively to large numbers of students who progress to secondary school without having achieved a working competency in this basic skill. Everyone knows the results: the disabled reader cannot survive in what is essentially an academic environment, so he puts in his time and ultimately drops out of school.”
--R. Baird Shuman

"The knowledge level of frequent readers is 200-400% higher than that of less active readers."

- Stanovich and Cunningham, 1993


Making the Connections

Research has connected students with low reading ability to a higher risk of a flurry of societal problems and achievement barriers such as:

  • poverty
  • unemployment and underemployment
  • remedial classes at the collegiate level
  • behavioral and emotional difficulties
  • suicide attempts and suicide ideation
  • school dropout
  • major depression
  • conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder
  • substance abuse
  • psychiatric disorders

The New Jersey Department of Corrections reports that the average reading ability of returning offenders is at a 6th level. Two-thirds have no GED or High School Diploma. The Journal of Correctional Education states that as many as sixty percent (60%) of the inmates in our jails are high school dropouts. Twenty-five percent (25%) are illiterate.

“A home without books is a body without soul.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Ancient Roman Lawyer 106BC-43BC


Our Response to the Need

Lawyers for Literacy (LFL) is committed to building a strong base for success for Florida’s children. The program is designed to help at-risk students improve one of the most foundational skills that will help determine their future achievement: reading.

LFL has partnered with schools in the Tampa Bay area to provide support from the professional community needed to help at-risk third grade students improve reading skills, pass the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) exam to be promoted to the fourth grade, and be prepared for greater success and impact on the world around them.