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Fact: Every additional year of primary school boosts girls’ future wages by 10-20%, and an extra year of secondary school by 15-25%.*

English is one of the world’s trickiest languages due to its irregular spelling patterns and morphophonemic nature. Because of this and a number of contributing educational factors, illiteracy levels remain high across the developed English-speaking globe. Through addressing the root causes of reading difficulty in English language learners, Oxford Learning Solutions is on a mission to eradicate this pervasive illiteracy.

But illiteracy crosses linguistic borders as well. In many developing nations, gender is a deciding factor in whether or not a child receives a basic education. 53% of all children out of school are girls who have been restricted from pursuing education due to their gender.* The remaining 47% of uneducated children may have work responsibilities that take them from the classroom, or live in isolated rural areas where physical access to education is limited.

Organizations like UNICEF and OXFAM are working towards closing the gender gap through raising awareness and implementing equal-education programs. Educated women play a vital role in sustained economic development as they contribute to trade and commerce. Apart from the above statistics about the personal benefit of education – each additional year of primary school boosts girls’ future wages by 10-20%, and each year of secondary by 15-25% – there are known economic benefits for a country at large. One percentage point increase in the number of educated females raises the average level of GDP by 0.37 percentage points.*

These numbers apply in the English-speaking developed world as well. Each child who drops out of school at 16, frustrated at their inability to participate after failing to learn how to read and spell, has a knock-on effect on the overall socio-economic future of a nation in addition to the personal consequences suffered.

Fighting illiteracy around the world – including right here at home – must be one of our top priorities as we move forward in the 21st century.



Sarah Forrest is a Program Coach for the Easyread System, an online phonics course specifically developed to help struggling kids with highly visual learning styles, dyslexia and auditory processing disorder. Easyread provides support for spelling and reading problems through Guided Phonetic Reading practice in short, daily lessons online. Find out more at