A Silent National Disaster

At Protons for Breakfast I try to make the world of science accessible to ‘normal’ people i.e non-scientists. I use no maths, because the course is about ideas, but I do use words. However many adults in this country can’t read. And so there is universe of ideas to which these people don’t have access.

People who can’t read generally don’t make a fuss: they are embarrassed. And after they have left school, their whole lives are in no-small-part defined by their inability to read. And one in five adults in the UK is functionally illiterate.

Two fantastic friends of mine – Nick Ainley and Libby Coleman – have written a book and started a practical campaign to help any one person teach one other person to read. It’s called Yes we can read. They aim to reach non-readers one by one. At the moment their work is still a ripple, but I think it will become a wave.

Nick and Libby: You are my heroes.

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