Literacy Changes Lives: An advocacy resource
In 2007, an American publication, To Read or Not to Read, set out a US perspective on the wider benefits of literacy. The document highlighted many areas familiar to English literacy research. To allow individuals to better understand the wider benefits of literacy, the National Literacy Trust has compiled this equivalent document for England. It draws on a number of sources that make use of longitudinal studies that have tracked their subjects from birth, such as the National Child Development Study (NCDS), which started in 1958, and the British Cohort Study, which began in 1970 (BCS70).
This document pulls together existing research about the impact of literacy on five areas in a person's life: economic well-being, aspirations, family life, health and civic/cultural engagement. It presents overwhelming evidence that literacy has a significant relationship with a person’s happiness and success. It gives a clear indication of the dangers of poor literacy and also the benefits of improving literacy for the individual, the community, the workforce and the nation.