Literacy and the Hoosier State


A simple term such as literacy has many different interpretations. Some may say it has to do with reading and writing, while others expand the definition to include abilities with current technology. According to our favorite free encyclopedia source, the definition of the term literacy is:

Literacy has been described as the ability to read for knowledge and write coherently and think critically about the written word. Literacy can also include the ability to understand all forms of communication, be it body language, pictures, video & sound (reading, speaking, listening and viewing). Evolving definitions of literacy often include all the symbol systems relevant to a particular community. Literacy encompasses a complex set of abilities to understand and use the dominant symbol systems of a culture for personal and community development. In a technological society, the concept of literacy is expanding to include the media and electronic text, in addition to alphabetic and number systems.

As you can tell, when you ask for the definition, depending on who you are asking, most likely you will receive a different answer. Why is this important?

Well, according to Dr. John W. Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, it demonstrates one major component of social health. He has studied, and produced results of the most literate cities since 2003. His study focuses on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources

According to the recent study completed in 2011, the top ten most literate cities include:

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. Minneapolis, MN
  4. Atlanta, GA
  5. Boston, MA
  6. Pittsburgh, PA
  7. Cincinnati, OH
  8. St. Louis, MO
  9. San Francisco, CA
  10. Denver, CO

What about the Hoosier state?

Of the 75 cities with over 250,000 in population, Indianapolis finished 37th, and Ft. Wayne finished 39th for its literacy. What facts can we draw from this study?

We’ll let our readers use critical thinking to draw their own conclusions. However, in his recent address to Muncie Rotary members, Mayor Dennis Tyler stated that, “Early education and adult education is a priority for our community.” We couldn’t agree more.

One of Muncie Action Plan’s initiatives is: Linking Learning, Health and Prosperity, and project chair, Tom Kinghorn has already been making great strides with early childhood development. For further information, and to get involved in this project, visit¬†

An overview of the Central Connecticut State University study and their detailed rankings can be found at


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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.


  1. As children loose interest in reading, they loose interest in school. We are ALL effected. As drop-out rate rise, crime and recidivism escalates. It’s imperative we use every tool available to encourage reading skills in our young people. Our future demands it!

    1. As the drop-out rate rises, crime and recidivism escalates. It’s imperative we use every tool available to encourage reading skills in our young people!

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