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Canada's literacy rates are troubling -- and America's are worse

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Low literacy rates are not a "politically popular" issue, according to professor Brenna Clarke Gray.
Abhi Sharma | Creative Commons via Flickr

Across the border, a Canadian professor is calling out the new prime minister for a troubling statistic on literacy.

In an open letter to Justin Trudeau, posted on Book Riot, Brenna Clarke Gray states that "a staggering 12 million Canadians — about 48 percent of the adult population — do not meet Level 3 literacy." 

Level 3 literary, Gray explained, is essentially what you'd need to graduate from high school. Not meeting Level 3 likely means being unable to comprehend written medical advice or to function in the workplace. 

Gray joined MPR News' Kerri Miller to talk about modern literacy rates, and what action she'd like to see on the part of the government.

America needs action as well, Gray pointed out. Literacy rates in the U.S. are actually about 10 percent worse than in Canada.

"We don't tend to think of Western nations as having literacy problems, with established democracies and established education systems," Gray said. "People who struggle with literacy have amazing coping mechanisms. They're really an invisible population, which is why it doesn't get discussed. The purpose of [my] letter was to draw some attention to an issue that is not particularly politically popular."