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Adult Literacy in Kentucky Improves

A national study shows adult literacy rates in Kentucky have improved. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.In 1992, 19 percent of Kentucky adults lacked the ability to read materials such as newspaper articles and brochures. That number fell to 12 percent in 2003, according to a new study by the National Center for Education.Tiffany Wheeler is an education professor at Transylvania University and president of the Kentucky Reading Association."There are some adult literacy programs that I’m sure that they have had an impact on the fact that these percentages have decreased as far as the lacking of literacy skills," she says.The study showed that 21 other states had a higher percent of adult population lacking those skills than those in Kentucky.Wheeler credits a combination of forces for the improvement."I do think it’s community-based programs. I think teachers are better prepared because there’s so much really high quality professional development right now," she says.Wheeler says Kentucky has worked to improve literacy, notably through the Lexington-based Collaborative Center for Literacy Development. She says lower literacy skills usually indicate a less skilled workforce and affect the state’s ability to attract industry and jobs.