Proclamation 5519 -- Adult Literacy Awareness Month, 1986


August 27, 1986


By the President of the United States


of America


A Proclamation


The incidence of illiteracy and functional illiteracy among the Nation's adult population negatively affects our economy, our social institutions, and our security. It also limits the opportunities open to those who lack basic reading and writing skills. Estimates of the number of illiterate or functionally illiterate Americans range from twenty-three million to over fifty million.


Adult illiteracy has not received the attention it deserves. As Americans come to understand the problem better they will come to grips with it. Illiteracy is not limited to any region of the Nation, nor to any social or ethnic group. We must take this problem seriously and provide the means and the motivation to help those with literacy deficiencies to master the ability to read and write.


Americans traditionally have responded when they become aware of a problem, especially when it comes to helping their fellow Americans. The problem of adult illiteracy can be solved if enough Americans volunteer to serve as tutors, provide in-kind services, and support other targeted efforts. There must be maximum private initiative, public-private cooperation, and coordinated community action. The Federal government has recognized the need to address adult illiteracy, and the private sector is beginning to do its part through a number of promising initiatives.


I am pleased to learn that many organizations will be involved in addressing this problem. Others in communications -- television producers, magazine publishers, book publishers, broadcasters, and advertising agencies -- will be supporting and encouraging efforts to raise awareness of the problem of adult illiteracy in September 1986 and beyond.


In order to call attention to these efforts, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 358, has designated the month of September 1986 as ``Adult Literacy Awareness Month'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this event.


Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of September 1986 as Adult Literacy Awareness Month. I call on the American people and organizations of every kind to observe the month with activities to increase awareness of the problem of adult illiteracy and to encourage involvement in programs to help eliminate illiteracy and functional illiteracy among adults in our Nation.


In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-seventh day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh.


Ronald Reagan


[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:08 a.m., September 2, 1986]