Imagine you are trying to navigate in the world but you can't comprehend the written words around you.

In the morning, you wake up and head to the bus stop, but you can’t decipher the senectus. At work, everything is labeled. There’s bibendum and accumsan and nullam, but the boxes all look the same. When you’re sick, the doctor gives you a prescription, but the morbi and dignissim on the bottle aren’t clear. 

The ability to read and comprehend written text affects people's everyday lives profoundly. It releases information, creates common understanding, and contributes to society's health and well-being. Overall, it determines how members of our community engage with each other. 


The Importance of Literacy

Written words are woven into countless aspects of everyday life. In order to read them and access the information they contain, people need literacy.


Levels of Literacy

Literacy encompasses everything from reading signs on the street to comprehending complex research articles. Because of this, it is typically assessed according to several levels. Each of these levels corresponds to different types of comprehension.
> Learn about literacy levels

About 45% of Utah residents are below the ideal minimal literacy level.


Literacy levels affect individuals as well as their communities.
From healthcare costs to imprisonment statistics, lifetime earnings to educational outcomes, they touch nearly every aspect of society.
Through a number of programs and services sponsored by the Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement, we are able to support improvements in literacy among Utahns of all ages.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had unfortunate effects on the education of our young people. Closed schools and unanticipated virtual learning resulted in first graders’ literacy levels dropping in 2020.

Library Programs

Fortunately, research has shown that library programs improve early literacy...
> Learn More

Volunteer Support

...and AmeriCorps Volunteers can have significant impact on preschoolers' literacy.
> Learn about AEIOU


Can You Tell a Book by its Cover?

According to research, yes! The art of book cover design helps with early literacy development.
> Learn about visual art in Utah

Discussion Opportunities

Books also provide opportunities for multicultural discussions among youngsters and older students.
> Learn about the Book Buzz program

Literacy Disparities

Unfortunately, many of the factors that contribute to Utah's cultural diversity are also indicators of its literacy disparities. In 2019, Utah fourth graders who were Hispanic or American Indian/Alaskan Native scored statistically significantly less than those who were white, and so did those who were English Language Learners. Many Black students encounter similar disparities.

Interdisciplinary Learning

Racial, cultural, and linguistic differences can also be opportunities for literacy development. English teachers can incorporate cultural differences into the subject matter of their lesson plans and social studies teachers can draw upon historical diversity in their work.
> Explore resources

Literacy and STEM

School subjects each provide opportunities for literacy instruction. Teachers can integrate writing into STEM classrooms and extend language arts material to other subjects. 
> Explore resources

Literacy and the Arts

Art education can be used to teach literacy as can theatrical performance.
> Explore resources


Beyond the classroom, literacy resources in Utah provide adults with material that match their language abilities and needs.

Language Accessible Resources

The Division of Multicultural Affairs curates material for non-English speakers, including this information about the COVID-19 pandemic.
> View the resources

Program for the Blind and Disabled

The Utah State Library provides library materials in formats that are accessible to the blind and disabled.
> Learn about the program

Utah Ranks among the Top Ten States for Literacy

We at the Department of Cultural & Community Engagement are proud of Utah's high literacy rate in relation to the rest of the country. Through the continuation of our programs, we will strive to improve our literacy levels even more.