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Literacy issues arise as pandemic continues

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Remote instruction has been a challenge for some students, and a nightmare for some parents who may not be savvy in working with computers. Literacy issues are compounding the problem. "With the pandemic and so much at-home, we have really seen where those gaps are in a lot of adult reading skills," said Amy Moritz, Literacy Coordinator for Literacy Buffalo Niagara.  She says some parents "may not understand all the instructions that teachers are sending home." 

According to Moritz, 147,000 people in Erie and Niagara counties struggle to read at Level One. On a national level, the Barbara Bush Family Foundation recently released a study that shows the connection between poverty and literacy. 

Low literacy levels, Moritz says, are three times more likely among Blacks and Hispanics. 

Like most non-profits, Literacy Buffalo Niagara has seen their number of volunteers dwindle throughout the pandemic. Moritz, a former volunteer tutor before she joined the staff, encourages interested parties to find out more. 

"You don't need to have a background in instruction or education or any experience in the classroom, " Moritz said. 

"The basic requirements are that you're 21 years or older, that you have a high school diploma or high school equivalency, and, then, just a desire to learn and to help people."