Barbara Richters of National Literacy Institute, talks about declining literacy in America on this don’t-miss episode of STAND podcast



According to the National Literacy Institute, approximately 40% of American students cannot read at a basic level. Alaska has felt this decline in literacy deeply, with many of our youth not being able to read past an 8th-grade level. 

The system’s solution, per usual, has been simply to throw money at the problem. New buildings, administration positions, and extracurricular programs have sprouted like weeds, yet the literacy rate continues to choke. 

Literacy is not just an academic imperative; it’s critical to freedom and financial prosperity. Literacy for All, a community literacy advocacy group, reports that 70% of adult welfare recipients and 75% of state prison inmates have low literacy levels.

With the alarming decline in literacy, and the education system’s apparent lack of results in around the problem, is there even a way for Americans to turn this around? Barbara Richter, a former educator, successful entrepreneur, and accomplished author believes that the literacy issue can be reversed. Recently on STAND, with Kelly and Niki Tshibaka, Richter provided insight into reversing illiteracy. 

“What I would say is that a lot of this starts at home. If you can get people at home reading with their family, with somebody that they trust or that they love…You’ll get a spark.” Richter said. She further explained how teachers can fan that spark into a flame in the classroom, stating “If you’re excited about [a book], your students are going to be excited about it.” 

Of course, reading at home is where literacy begins, but extending that mission into a failing school system seems like an insurmountable task. Richter, however, revealed that the solution isn’t as complicated as it seems. 

When asked what made schools with better literacy rates superior in the area of literature, Richter answered: “Schools that had robust English programs, that had early intervention programs. You know things that you would expect.” Additionally, Richter stated that  “…having professionals, you know, having educators, having librarians who you can go to and say ‘this is where I’m at, help me’…that can go towards creating a better literacy amongst our children…”

There you have it, folks. The solution to illiteracy is within our grasp, it’s just a question of whether or not we reach out for it.

If you want to hear more about Barbara Richter’s insight and solutions for the literacy rates in America, the tragic link between illiteracy and declines in freedom, and the importance of reading, you can catch the newest episode of STAND. You can also view the episode on YouTube, Rumble, and your podcast streaming platform.

Kelly Tshibaka is the host of the podcast, TV, and radio show STAND, and the 2022 Alaska Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. She co-hosts the show with her husband, Niki Tshibaka.


  1. Forrest Dunbar claims He read the US constitution and claims it is “shot full of racism”.

    It takes more than reading to comprehend and understand the meaning of a document with words printed on it.

    • Yes. The Murkowskis have seen the light. As torch bearing Conservatives and Catholics, we know that Kelly is better for Alaska and America. Lisa is just better for the Murkowskis and OUR legacy.

  2. Elementary teachers and schools have a moral imperative to teach reading using evidence-based methods. This is called The Science of Reading, and many administrators and teachers have no idea what it is. Google “Alaska’s Reading Playbook” for an excellent introduction to this proven way to teach reading using phonetic awareness and phonics.

  3. Children belong to their families and should be at home until at least Kindegarden. Kindegarden used to be a medium to shape children for and commence education. Programs like Head Start, pre school, ect. commence way too early and are designed and used to acculturate parents to accepting children are wards of the state. Teachers are generally uneducated themselves, most university education programs are garbage, the diplomas mean nothing of value or use, except to place people in jobs to further spread the dysfunction. We are several generations into this, it would take several generations to get out. If we, in terms of a society, ever make education a priority. “Funding” is not the problem or cure. It’s the use of resources and a dedication to establishing exacting standards for the desired finished product, an educated adult. 100% school choice, were the financial resources are assigned to each child and the parents use those resources in the school of their choice is the cure. Competent and competitive schools would be created for those dollars, and the failing public schools would wither away, as they should, or enact reforms to survive.


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