Adult Literacy and Learning Impact Network Releases New White Paper

Washington, D.C. – June 13, 2023 – The Adult Literacy and Learning Impact Network is pleased to announce the release of a new white paper, “Investing in Multiple Literacies for Individual and Collective Empowerment.

ALL IN is a collective impact initiative formed by national thought leaders across the adult learning ecosystem. Conceived and convened by the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, ALL IN is charged with carrying out the goals of the National Action Plan for Adult Literacy, a multisector, multiyear initiative designed to drive inclusive, collective action to increase adult literacy nationwide.

Despite the critical need for multiple literacy skills, rates of literacy access and attainment have not kept pace with technological advancements.

Today, more than half (54%) of adults in the United States struggle with foundational reading, numeracy and digital problem-solving skills, which include the ability to access and interpret information in digital environments to perform practical tasks, like entering personal information in a form.
About 43 million Americans – nearly one in five adults – read below the adult equivalent of a third-grade level, making it difficult to comprehend everyday texts, such as news articles on unfamiliar topics, medical information, or email communications from a school or agency to support children’s education and foster family literacy.

With the release of this new white paper, ALL IN seeks to raise awareness about the challenges of supporting adult literacy in our current system, recognize opportunities for impactful learning experiences and galvanize multisector engagement to address this collectively.

“Reading and numeracy are gateway skills to multiple literacies – including civic, digital, financial, health, and information – all of which interconnect and enable social and economic mobility,” said Sarah Cacicio, director of ALL IN. “Investing in multiple literacies will have a lasting impact on our individual and collective well-being.”

Reviewers for the white paper, which included experts across education, nonprofit, government and corporate sectors, shared the following thoughts on the importance of investing in literacy:

“As our world becomes increasingly digital, the written word becomes the baseline for communication,” said Daniel Gutwein, director of education at Intel and founder of the N50 Project. “Literacy is a core factor in determining who has access to the digital world and who will be left behind. Unfortunately, no individual, community or organization can afford the latter.”

“Digital health is an essential component of healthcare,” said Dr. Katherine Kim, principal, Consumer Health Informatics and Health Science, The MITRE Corporation. “Among barriers to digital health are connectivity, access to remote patient monitoring devices, digital health literacy, programs designed for specific culture and setting, and sustainable funding. We need to target all of these inequities to improve health outcomes.”

“Investing in adult literacy development has measurable economic, health and other benefits,” said Priyanka Sharma, vice president – US, World Education, Inc. “And more fundamentally, it’s about enabling and amplifying the diverse voices of traditionally excluded adult learners, their stories, experiences and knowledge of the world.”

Investing in Multiple Literacies for Individual and Collective Empowerment” is now available to read.


About ALL IN: The Adult Literacy and Learning Impact Network is a collective impact initiative that has convened thought leaders from the adult literacy field and beyond to carry out the National Action Plan for Adult Literacy. ALL IN’s efforts are driven by its vision: a country where every adult can easily access high-quality, effective support to improve their reading, writing, digital and numeracy skills – regardless of who or where they are. To learn more, visit


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