Friday, December 28, 2007

Chicago Ranked 36th Most Literate City

For the last 10 years Central Connecticut State University has ranked America's largest cities in terms of most literate. This is done using six factors: number of booksellers; education; Internet Resources; Library Resources; Newspaper Circulation; and Periodical publications.

The top 10 are as follows:
Minneapolis, MN
Seattle, WA (last year's #1)
St. Paul, MN
Denver, CO
Washington, DC
St. Louis, MO
San Francisco, CA
Atlanta, GA
Pittsburgh, PA
Boston, MA

Living in the South Chicago Suburbs, I was curious how well Chicago ranked and was dismayed when I found it at number 40, falling from 39 last year, but rising from 46 in 2005. Overall 69 cities were ranked, so 40 puts Chicago in the bottom half. With Chicago being the 3rd most populated city in the US this puts are literacy rate low. In 2000 there were 78 libraries within the city limits of Chicago and 596 public schools (elementary & secondary). 28.2% of Chicagoans above age 25 have not received a high school diploma.

I've checked many different sources and all the data I received from each one disappointed me. What could we do to raise our rankings? What could we do to keep kids in school? What could we do to promote reading?
  • Support the schools. The better the school, the more likely a student is to stay through high school and the higher standard of learning the school provides.

  • Support local libraries. Some people see libraries as outdated because they don't have the funds available to keep up with the technological growth.

  • Support organizations such as First Read that help children learn to read and provide them with the resources necessary.

  • Or the simplest thing anyone can do:
  • Read to children.
  • As a parent, the best way to encourage education is to read to your child. Teach them how to read, how to improve their skills, and make it interesting. Also children do what they see their parents do. If a child sees a parent reading, they'll want to read. But if they see their parent do nothing but watch tv, they might not take the initiative to do anything else.
    You can also read to your younger siblings or cousins or neighbors. You could volunteer at your local library or elementary school. Just read to them.

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