Thursday, September 10, 2015

Celebrate Literacy

If you listen to some people, they complain about how young people today can't string five words together into a coherent sentence, BUT today more people then ever before can read and write.

Why is that?

It's called T-E-X-T-I-N-G!

In this digital age if you can't keyboard, you're sunk. Every job everywhere involves some form of written communication.

Hard to believe that 757 million adults cannot read or write. Maybe it's just third world countries.

But no! In America this may seem foreign to us, but guess again there are 32 million adults that cannot read or write.

Think about that. How do they go to the store? How do they pay their bills? How do they take public transportation? How do they read medication labels?

What does it mean to be illiterate? It means you, your children, and your family will live in poverty.

There's even a Literacy Day (Sept. 8) to help raise awareness of this problem.

Do you know someone that struggles with reading and writing? How do you think we could MOTIVATE people to want to read and write - let's not just throw money at this. What are some real solutions to help people crack open a book or send their first text?

Do you think adults may be too embarrassed to admit they can't read? How could you encourage them to read?

Can you imagine your own life without reading? What would that be like?


  1. I do agree how adults that are illiterate and are embarrassed to admit. I do see that SOMETIMES, it is ignorance and by choice. I worked in a job that requires me to work in the poorer community. They want to condemn those who are rich but are content to "smoking a joint" or "looking for that (girl)". It was a sad contrast to those in an academic field where they care about gaining knowledge to further their career. I do understand that some people have no choice and that they have a ceiling that they need to break through. My childhood family was like that. My current and growing family is trying to break through from being improvish. I know that school and gaining more knowledge is probably my best chance to further my family. I hope that other people don't squander the opportunity to further their education, because one day, education will be the only way to go up.

  2. What does it mean to be illiterate? It means you, your children, and your family will live in poverty.

    Not necessarily, but not unlikely, either. I worked for a not for profit operating under the name Project Second Chance whose mission was to teach adults to read. They shared a story of a man who would choose his food at a restaurant not by reading the menu but by looking around at nearby tables and seeing what others were eating. His wife and children did not learn of his illiteracy until the children were aged and married. How did he go for so long without being found out? It is hard to say. He owned his own construction company and he was a likeable man. He knew the craft of building and how to delegate jobs, including those in administration. We can assume that literacy is not needed in construction, with the exception of reading warning labels. He had been building since a small child, though, and knew of all the dangers. He did not lack common sense, in other words. He came to the charity, after retiring, with the desire to read. He had the mind of a child. He wrote a book of poems that were so simple, they were brilliant. It was remarkable.

    What are some real solutions to help people crack open a book or send their first text?

    I believe by taking people out for a day and showing them all the things they can do with reading and writing, they will be hooked on learning. Reading a short mystery to someone who cannot read, a story with a twist, an 'aha' moment, would engage them and their imagination. It would leave them wanting more. Perhaps sending a few text messages to a friend or family member of theirs and reading back the responses would also show them how useful this skill is.

    Do you think adults may be too embarrassed to admit they can't read? How could you encourage them to read?

    Absolutely. I believe by introducing illiterate adults and children to other illiterate people, they would see they are not alone and they are not worthless. Some may see themselves this way. Here is a list of celebrities who are, or were at one time, illiterate or with dyslexia.

    Steven Spielberg
    Jennifer Aniston
    Robin Williams
    Pablo Picasso
    Muhammad Ali
    Henry Ford
    William Shakespeare
    Agatha Christie
    Hans Christian Andersen
    Thomas Edison
    John Rockefeller
    Steve Jobs
    Abraham Lincoln

  3. It is crazy to think about the fact that 757 million adults can not read or write. That is a huge amount of the population that can’t do 2 basic things needed in almost every day life. When I was done reading this blog, I asked myself so many questions such as: how do they drive and get off on the right exits off the freeway, or how do they make correct turns, how do they pay bills, how do they work and do all the tasks assigned to them, how do they go grocery shopping? Its crazy to think that people can live like this, always struggling. If that were me I would feel hopeless and I would want to learn as soon as possible so that things would become easier for me. What I didn’t know was that here is a day, September 8, that is dedicated to this to help raise awareness. The statistics are even scary to me, a lot of this percent of people are high school students. That isn’t right. Children should have a good education because that will be there backbone for the future.

  4. I find that a lot of adults blame the younger generations for being so tech savvy and they say things like "Oh god, imagine if we actually have to speak to each other. Look everyone's on their phone!" My grandma is almost 80 years old, and to this day has never gotten behind the wheel. She struggled to get to work or just to simply go to the store, my grandpa had to do it for her. I know she was embaressed to even admit that she couldn't drive. Now, imagine not being able to simply read or write. Now with everything online it has to be almost impossible to do anything! I find it astonishing that such a large population can't read or write.

  5. Literacy is defined as the ability to read and write. One would think with all the new technology advancements and considering the fact that we are living in 2015, that everyone should know how to read and write; Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are about 757 million adults(15yrs and older) who cannot read or write a simple sentence. Hearing a fact like this is shocking and a huge disappointment to the world itself. Humans have to write, at least read, everyday just to complete their normal daily routine. Seeing that not everyone in the world is not able to read and write portrays how education is not the main priority of the world and is quite sickening. Furthermore, the cause of illiteracy makes me upset even more. 124 million children and adolescents do not attend school. 59 million are between ages 6-11, and 65 million are between 12-15. These two facts alone reveals how the leaders of the world do not care about individual’s education. For the United States to be a superpower, they should be enacting education programs for students in different countries that can’t afford to go to school because of poverty.

  6. I don't find it hard to believe that people can't read and write, many people come to this country at an older age from different countries never bothering to learn the language. They pay their bills and live their daily lives dependent on their children who many were born in this country and are able to attend school and learn the language. Focusing on the younger generation is a very positive thing but we tend to forget that sometimes in more lower class districts their parents might have never gotten opportunities leaving the child to learn everything on their own. I believe their should be more programs for adults as well. Many like to think that this country has so much to offer but only to a certain age limit is that true. Education is at the bottom of the totem point when it comes to governments focus but one of the most crucial points for success and growth in this country so why isn't the first focus?

  7. Now that I think of it, my parents do know how to type up. Even if it's not as often as I and other folks do. I can be pretty proud to say that they aren't a part of those 32 million illiterate adults. However, I don't actually think my parents know how gifted they are to be literate in English, especially as immigrants who are still learning the language. This reminds me of a book I've read before: Paper Daughter by Elaine Mar. This memoir features a young Chinese girl and her family who emigrated to America. In one part of the book, the girl was the only one who could read English and her mother required her to read and sign legal documents for the family. I suppose it truly isn't wrong to say that being illiterate means poverty.

  8. I come from a village where adults could barely read and write. They all depended on their kids or one educated person in the village and make them read their letters or deal with things related to writing and reading.

    Since I go to school and I understand the value of being educated, thinking some people can't read or write suffocates me. I do believe that many adults are embarrassed to admit that they aren't educated and don't give themselves a chance to go to school because of what the society might think of them.

    Therefore, if those adults are parents of well educated kids, they should encourage them to learn to read for their own good and if we happen to sit with a much older person in class, show them respect and not give them a judgmental look.

  9. It is sad to know that there is such huge amount of people with no schooling. Literacy is a fundamental key in our life, and I encourage everybody to obtain education, it makes one more independent in any situation; besides it gives a better image. Truly cases of Illiteracy always tend to create an awkward though of inferiority or superiority. In most of the cases, if one wasn’t born being a millionaire, it brings a life measured. And it is sad to live a limited life; have you ever heard, too much work and no play makes one a dull boy? It means to live a boring life, plus you aim to be limited. If this bring no fun to me, hell no son! It'll bring many regrets in life, I believe; learning is awesome. It is pleasant to know that thanks to technology the percentage of illiterates reduce, another way, to reduce it is URGING kids to attend to school, and parents being the models; never is too late to learn!

  10. Personally, I don’t know anyone that struggles with reading or writing, but I’ve seen someone struggle to understand a phrase or a passage, even at the college level. I think the biggest problem we face when it comes to literacy is the curriculum. The system we use to teach language and inspire thought is nowhere near what it could be. It’s been argued and debated over countless times in the past few years. Education systems in the United States, and potentially even the rest of the world, tend to teach people how to take tests, not how to learn. The emphasis lies not on helping students and learners to engage with the material, but rather on their ability to regurgitate lines of memorized text in a dull manner. The biggest way we can motivate people to WANT to learn is by providing them with a more interactive system of learning, where rewards and praise clearly illustrate the benefits of learning to read and write effectively. After all, if people feel more engaged with the text and can think about it on a deeper level, they will want to learn more.

    I do think that the adults that cannot read or write are too embarrassed to admit it. Again, the blame goes to the school systems, especially in America. Education is more competitive than ever, and it rewards a letter grade over true comprehension of the subject matter. This is why constant reassurance and praise is necessary to keep someone on the track of learning. It is also necessary to show them the opportunities that could be at their disposal if they were to show a true interest in their learning. Providing examples of potential career paths could keep them motivated to learn as much as they can.

    When I imagine my own life without reading, I must admit that it gets pretty grim. Some of my favorite memories were reading well-written books or essays for the first time, and a lot of my time goes into activities where reading and comprehension are paramount to success. I would rather be stricken with the plague than lose my ability to read or write.

  11. Back in my home country, Indonesia, it is common to find older people or rural residences who cannot read or write. I happen to know one person who cannot read or write. She is my nanny. She worked for my family since I was 5 years old, until recently she have to retire due to a traffic accident that caused her to lost the ability to walk. In my house, my mom taught her how to read simple letters such as vegetables names and kitchen stuff, since she need to know them. She felt embarrassed to my other nanny who was younger than her. Therefore, my family encourage her to learn a little by little. However, surprisingly, she knows money and numbers. She also can go to buy stuff by herself, which later she confess that she remembers colours and shapes rather than reading the brand. Through this experience, I feel very fortunate to be born in modern era. I could learn how to read and write and my biggest fear is that I cannot read harry potter novels. Imagine if I could not fantasized that I were enrolled in Hogwarts, my life would have be very boring.