Raumesh Akbari
Senator | Memphis, TN

Disrupting Generational Illiteracy by Implementing Imagination Libraries

Idea Category: Education, Equity & Opportunity


In 2014, nearly 43 million adult Americans possessed low literacy rates with 8 million adults reading at a third grade level. In 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a catastrophic rise in illiteracy rates among youth in the U.S. The guidelines issued by the government and public health institutions pushed millions of students out of school disrupting their education and forcing schools to redesign how to teach in a virtual world. This drastically changed literacy rates in the first few months of the pandemic, but the long term effects could have even more drastic results.


The solution to low literacy rates is to proactively disrupt generational illiteracy through government opt-in programs such as an imagination library. An imagination library is a free book gifting program that sends high quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income. This helps students in underserved communities that don't have access to resources. Requiring state and local governments to offer imagination libraries would help prepare the next generation if another pandemic were to happen.

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