Venezuela: The Reading Revolution

"I did not even know what a letter of the alphabet was. Now I can defend myself." So said Felicinda de Lozada, a 36-year-old Caracas housewife for whom a proud new world was opening up last week. Illiterate a year ago, Felicinda enrolled in one of the adult night schools that Venezuela's government has organized in her slum barrio. She now looks forward to a complete primary-school education, and then intends to get a job to help support her family.

Throughout Venezuela, young and old are learning to read, write and do simple...