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The Unconscious Interrupt Dynamic in Reading & Low U.S. Reading Statistics

Bill Allen
Bill Allen
May 03, 2022

A Dynamic Creating People Who Don't Like to Read, or Can't Read

The Interrupt Dynamic

Abstract words and symbols make up a large part of the words in print (over 50% of words read in grades K-5 are abstract). Abstract words and symbols can challenge the brain so that the reader develops an apparent ‘word blindness’ after meeting a number of them in a few lines of text. The interruptive words provide no useful input, and therefore, they can be like blank spaces in the content of the sentence being read. The resulting lack of meaning due to the interruptions often leads to poor comprehension.

Due to the “Interrupt Dynamic” while reading, frustration and lack of meaning build, and the reader wants to get away from the stress and discomfort of reading. This dynamic occurs deep in the brain, below the level of conscious awareness, and is not obvious to anyone but the frustrated reader, who is impaired by it. Magical I Am™ believes that because this deterrent to reading is subliminal, it is not suspected to be the reading disability problem.

When these children grow to be adults who are incapable of reading fluently at the level of their peers, they are not attracted to reading books, newspapers, eBooks, articles, labels, forms and contracts.  It is too difficult, if not impossible, to understand them.

Illiteracy – The World and US Statistics 

“If kids struggle with reading in their younger years, it increases the odds that they'll do so as adults. “

(Shocking Facts: 23 statistics on Illiteracy in America. May 2016;

“Despite [the U.S.] being a global economic and political leader, illiteracy continues to be a pervasive problem in the U.S. For adults who struggle with reading, the impact is felt in a number of ways, but the most obvious one is in the workplace. While researchers have pinpointed some of the causes behind the illiteracy crisis, including poverty, learning disabilities and a lack of parental participation, finding a solution has proven difficult. To put the severity of the issue into perspective, CreditDonkey has assembled a list of 23 startling statistics on illiteracy in America.”

(Shocking Facts: 23 statistics on Illiteracy in America. May 2016.

Below are Four of the 23 CreditDonkey illiteracy statistics: 

#2. How does [US Illiteracy] compare to the rest of the world? 

On a global scale, illiteracy affects 774 million adults aged 15 or older. Among developed nations, the U.S. ranks 16th for adult reading skills.

#3. How many [US] adults only read at the lowest proficiency level?

Between 40 and 44 million adults, or roughly 20 to 23% of adults in the U.S. are limited to reading at the basic or below basic proficiency levels.

#10. What percentage of high school graduates can't read [in the US]? 

Making it to graduation day is a major milestone for teens, but many of them struggle to decipher the words on their diploma. Just under 20% of high school grads haven't developed basic reading proficiency by the time they don their cap and gown.

#21. How does illiteracy impact the [US] economy

In terms of lost productivity, it's estimated that the portion of the population that can't read costs the nation a staggering $225 billion each year.

Adult Illiteracy Facts about our Children, Parents, you, and me

The US adult literacy rate is the percentage of people ages 15 and above who can both read and write with understanding a short simple statement about their everyday life. U.S. literacy rate for 2020 was 99.00%, with a 0% change from 2015.  Who are the 1% adult illiterates and what jobs, and life success are they having?

According to the International Literacy Association, there are 781 million people in the world who are either illiterate (cannot read a single word) or functionally illiterate (with a basic or below basic ability to read). Some 126 million of them are young people. That accounts for 12 percent of the world’s population.”

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), 

  • 21 percent of adults in the United States (about 43 million) fall into the illiterate/functionally illiterate category. 

  • Nearly two-thirds of fourth graders read below grade level, and the same number graduate from high school still reading below grade level. 

This puts the United States well behind several other countries in the world, including Japan, all the Scandinavian countries, Canada, the Republic of Korea, and the UK.” 

“The NCES breaks the below-grade-level reading numbers out further: 

  • 35 percent are white, 34 percent Hispanic, 23 percent African American, and 8 percent “other.” 

Nor is this a problem mostly for English Language Learners. 

  • Non-U.S.-born adults make up 34 percent of the low literacy/illiterate U.S. population. 

  • New Hampshire, Minnesota, and North Dakota have the highest literacy rates (94.2 percent, 94 percent, and 93.7 percent respectively), while 

  • Florida, New York, and California have the lowest (80.3 percent, 77.9 percent, and 76.9 percent respectively).”  April 2020, Amy Rea.

The projections beyond 2020 show that education well beyond high school will be required to be competitive in getting a job that is financially supportive. 

Sky Village is a literacy app designed to help children master abstract words and symbols, especially those children who are at risk of becoming part of the population who hates to or can’t read – becoming the adults who don’t like to read.  

How Serious is America’s Literacy Problem?

How serious is the problem

Below is a Map of The Most and Least Literate States  Go to the website, and hover over a state for literacy details. 


Learn to Read, so you can Read to Learn. ™ 

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