Can you read this?

Don’t take that the wrong way, I’m not trying to insinuate anything… You’d be shocked to learn that 1 in 7 U.S. adults can’t actually read this.  Yes, you read that correctly, 1 in 7.  Look around you, most likely somebody close to you is actually struggling to read.

It’s not something we should laugh at, though.  Instead, we should really analyze how it happened.  How is it that one of the most advanced populations in the world has such a high illiteracy rate?

This isn’t a new problem either.  Information on illiteracy in the U.S. has been around for decades.  Decades.  And still the problem grows.  GROWS.  The number of adults that can’t read isn’t shrinking, it’s growing.  From 1992 to 2003, 3.6 million more adults were considered to have low literacy.

Undiagnosed learning disabilities, immigration and high school dropouts have been cited as reasons for poor literacy.  But that’s definitely not the only contributing factor.  Too often in schools, teachers don’t want to ‘deal’ with the kids who can’t read and pass them along to the next teacher.  The process gets repeated year after year, and somehow these kids wind up at their high school graduation, still incapable of reading a full paragraph.  I saw it in high school; kids who were called on in class, who struggled through the words.  These kids who would never raise their hands, but somehow always got called on.  And these kids who were laughed at, mercilessly, because in 11th grade, they still couldn’t read.

I’m guilty of doing it.  I’m sure you are too.  At that age, we don’t really know any better though, do we?

Now, I look back and I feel ashamed of myself.  But isn’t that how it always is.  If we had the gift of foresight, instead of hindsight, maybe we wouldn’t wake up with regrets.  But we don’t, so the only thing we can do is look at those regrets as lessons.

These kids, these poor kids who got pushed through the system, are the victims here.  How can any self-respecting educator sleep at night knowing they passed x-amount of kids through to the next grade that they knew couldn’t read?  It’s a question we’ll never know the answer to.  Maybe, however, we can’t really blame the educator, but the system they’ve been taught themselves to teach to their students.  That’s a long story, one that I’ll save for you to read on your own:

The essay is a little dated, but still holds plenty of good information.

I bring up illiteracy right now because it holds a strong place in my heart.  I’ve always been an avid reader and feel like everyone should have that opportunity.  It’s a sad, but true story, and one that keeps getting swept under the rug… pushed to the back of the class… lost under the struggle of thousands of kids in a system that passes them on without a second glance.




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