SAN ANTONIO - According to the latest census, one in four adults in San Antonio reads at a fifth-grade level or lower, making them functionally illiterate. Out of the 77 largest cities in the United States, the Alamo City came in at 73rd when it comes to literacy.
Forty-nine year old Chadwick Fletcher reads at a fifth grade level.
"I felt like I was nothing. I felt so ashamed of myself," he said. "It was embarrassing because I had to ask people."
Literacy experts say often times a parent or caregiver's literacy level indicates the success their child has in school. Fletcher's mom was illiterate. He ended up dropping out of high school and then became homeless and hooked on drugs. A year ago, Fletcher decided to clean up his life and went to Each One Teach One, a San Antonio non-profit aimed at tackling adult literacy.
"I've learned how to do a computer, work a computer, my spelling. I got more advanced, my reading. I can write a complete letter, all the commas and all that," Fletcher said.
According to BeginToRead.com, two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare.
"What we find is that those who are feeding the unemployment lines and the lines of the homeless shelters and the lines of some of these social service agencies are those who are not reading. And so those agencies and entities are funded by taxes," said Connie Tobe from Each One Teach One.
Now that Fletcher has tackled spelling and a computer, he has even bigger goals.
"I want to give back, I want to tell individuals, 'Hey, it's something more than life out there in the streets,'" Fletcher said.
If you're interested in learning to read or volunteering with Each One Teach One visit their official website here.
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