Reading is also the most basic of skills, providing access to other knowledge to facilitate lifelong learning. More than 90 million adults in the United States (43 percent of the population aged 16 and older) lack the basic skills necessary for employment, according to 2005 data from a national literacy survey that measured the ability of the nation’s adults to find and use basic information and services. Adults with low literacy skills have difficulty understanding how to maintain good health or following a doctor’s orders. Many lack the ability to read a book to their children or help them with homework. Yet, research indicates that many instructors in adult education programs do not teach reading explicitly.
Teaching reading is a complex undertaking, especially when the learner is an adult.