A person who can read well can do just about anything!
The ability to take in and interpret knowledge through the printed word is the basis for most kinds of learning. Whether or not a particular topic is taught in school, a reader can find information on it and learn about it independently. Learning independently, or being an "autodidact," sets up a person for lifelong learning. Our world is changing fast and only people who can teach themselves new skills will be able to thrive.
Reading also is critical to being able to understand why things are as they are and how one can effectively make change. In the nineteenth century, it was against the law in the US to teach enslaved people to read. Slave owners were concerned that with the greater knowledge obtained by reading, enslaved people would rise up against the owners. Many people, such as Frederick Douglas, did learn to read and write and became outspoken abolitionists. Reading allowed these people to change their circumstances.
Especially in the age of the internet, reading remains important. While there are text to speech apps out there, we gain most of our information through reading. Reading opens up the whole world to people!