Illiterate in college

A star athlete, Dasmine Cathey got through Memphis schools without learning to read and got a football “scholarship” to the University of Memphis. By studying first-grade books and working with university-paid tutors, he went from illiterate to semi-literate — and nearly earned enough credits for a bachelor’s degree in “interdisciplinary studies.” According to The Education of Dasmine Cathey in the Chronicle of Higher Education, many Memphis football players read below the seventh-grade level. Few are good enough to play professionally. What if they’d gotten help in elementary school?

Cathey, who fathered two children with different girlfriends while in college, now drives a beer truck.

47% are illiterate in Detroit

Some 47 percent of Detroit’s adults are “functionally illiterate,” according to the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund, a job training nonprofit.

That means they can’t fill out a form or a job application, said Karen Tyler-Ruiz, the group’s director. “Reading a prescription; what’s on the bottle, how many you should take… just your basic everyday tasks,” she said. “I don’t really know how they get by, but they do. Are they getting by well? Well, that’s another question.”

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed Roy Roberts, a retired General Motors executive, as emergency financial manager — effectively, superintendent — of Detroit Public Schools. The state took over the school district in 2009.

Illiterate in America

According to a federal literacy study,  one in seven U.S. adults can’t read well enough to understand a newspaper article, follow instructions for medications or decipher a utility bill, reports USA Today.

“They really cannot read … paragraphs (or) sentences that are connected,” says Sheida White, a researcher at the U.S. Education Department.

Slate offers suggestions for parents to help your child learn to read. None of it works for parents who can’t read well, but I suppose they’re not reading Slate.

Update: Teaching content is teaching reading, says Dan Willingham on a new video (with annoying background music). Comprehension requires background knowledge.