Tag Archives: Illiteracy

Parent homework: Make friends with your local library

6 Jan

This is an absolutely jaw-dropping statistic. According the article, Opinion Brief: Detroit’s ‘shocking’ 47 percent illiteracy rate which was posted at The Week:

More than 200,000 Detroit residents — 47 percent of Motor City adults — are “functionally illiterate,” according to a new report released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. That means they can’t fill out basic forms, read a prescription, or handle other tasks most Americans take for granted, according to the fund’s director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, as quoted by CBS Detroit. Her organization’s study also found that the education and training aimed at overcoming these problems “is inadequate at best,” says Jackie Headapohl at Michigan Live. http://theweek.com/article/index/215055/detroits-shocking-47-percent-illiteracy-rate

Illiteracy is a global problem, with some geographic areas and populations suffering more from illiteracy than others.

Education Portal defines illiteracy in the article, Illiteracy: The Downfall of American Society.

Most people think of literacy as a simple question of being able to read. But while a young child who can work her way through a basic picture book is considered to have age-appropriate literacy levels, an adult who can only read at the most fundamental level is still functionally illiterate.
The world requires that adults not only be able to read and understand basic texts, but also be able to function in the workplace, pay bills, understand legal and financial documents and navigate technology – not to mention the advanced reading comprehension skills required to pursue postsecondary education and the opportunities that come with it.
As a result, when we talk about the effects of illiteracy on society, we’re talking primarily about what happens when you have a large number of adults whose literacy skills are too low to perform normal, day-to-day tasks. However, it is worth keeping in mind that childhood illiteracy is, of course, directly correlated to adult illiteracy.
http://education-portal.com/articles/Illiteracy_The_Downfall_of_American_Society.html

The key concept is the individual cannot adequately function in the society in which they live. That means that tasks necessary to provide a satisfactory life are difficult because they cannot read and/or comprehend what they read.

ProLiteracy provides basic facts about illiteracy in the article, Basic Facts about Literacy:

Literacy is the ability to read, write, compute, and use technology at a level that enables an individual to reach his or her full potential as a parent, employee, and community member.
• There are 759 million adults–approximately 16 percent of the world’s population–who have only basic or below basic literacy levels in their native languages.
• Two-thirds of the world’s lowest literate adults are women (640 million women have basic or below basic literacy skills).
• In the U.S., 63 million adults — 29 percent of the country’s adult population —over age 16 don’t read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level.
• An additional 30 million — 14 percent of the country’s adult population — can only read at a fifth grade level or lower.
• Forty-three percent of adults with the lowest literacy rates in the United States live in poverty.
• The United States ranks fifth on adult literacy skills when compared to other industrialized nations.
• Adult low literacy can be connected to almost every socio-economic issue in the United States:
o More than 65 percent of all state and federal corrections inmates can be classified as low literate.
o Low health literacy costs between $106 billion and $236 billion each year in the U.S.
o Seventy-seven million Americans have only a 2-in-3 chance of correctly reading an over-the-counter drug label or understanding their child’s vaccination chart.
o Low literacy’s effects cost the U.S. $225 billion or more each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.
• Globally, illiteracy can be linked to:
o Gender abuse, including female infanticide and female circumcision
o Extreme poverty (earning less than $1/day)
o High infant mortality and the spread of HIV/Aids, malaria, and other preventable infectious diseases http://www.proliteracy.org/page.aspx?pid=345

Many of those who are illiterate are successful in hiding the fact that they cannot read.

The University of Michigan Health Center explains why reading is important in the article, Reading, Literacy and Your Child:
What is literacy?

Literacy means being able to read and write.
Why is reading important?
A child’s reading skills are important to their success in school and work. In addition, reading can be a fun and imaginative activity for children, which opens doors to all kinds of new worlds for them. Reading and writing are important ways we use language to communicate….
There are many ways to include reading in your child’s life, starting in babyhood, and continuing through the teen years. Focus on literacy activities that your child enjoys, so that reading is a treat, not a chore. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/reading.htmhttps://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/reading-is-a-key-component-of-learning/

Education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), the teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be active and involved. Parents are an important part because they enforce lessons learned at school by reading to their children and taking their children for regular library time.

Related:

More research about the importance of reading https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/reading-literacy-and-your-child/

The slow reading movement https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

Resources:

Kathryn Schwartz of IPL2 wrote in Learning to research in the library:

Get to know your library
The resources available to you will vary a lot depending on whether you’re using an academic library at a large university, a public library in a large (or small) community, or a high school library. Find out early in your research project what resources your library has, by visiting and taking a tour, if possible. Some college libraries offer an online tour of the library or a self-guided tour using handouts in addition to tours guided by librarians.
Many people who use libraries don’t make full use of the reference collection except for the encyclopedias, while reference librarians have spent large amounts of money and time in developing wonderful reference collections for research. See Reference Sources in Libraries to see a small sample of the kind of information may be hiding in your library’s reference room.
Libraries build their collections based on what they think their patrons will need, so the collections of reference materials, fiction and non-fiction will differ between a public and an academic library. Be aware of what kind of collection you’re working with, and make arrangements to visit a different library if necessary.
Learn to browse – understand the classification scheme in your library
A library’s classification scheme is a system by which books are organized to be placed on the shelves. Browsing the shelves is an important step when you’re trying to get ideas for your research project, so it’s worth the effort to become familiar with your library’s system.
Most libraries in the U.S. use either the Dewey Decimal system or Library of Congress system, while Britain uses the UDC and other countries use various systems. All of the systems attempt to “co-locate” books with similar subject matter. In a smaller library, many times you can bypass the catalog as a starting point and go directly to the shelves for a first look at your topic, so long as you have a chart of the classification scheme as a guide.
Remember, though, that a book can have only one location in a library. Some books cover more than one subject and the cataloguer has to choose one place to locate the book. Also, non-book materials such as videos and films, will be located in a different section of the building and could be missed by simply shelf-browsing the book collection.
See our charts summarizing the Dewey Decimal Classification System and the Library of Congress Classification System.
Learn how online library catalogs work
A library catalog is a listing of all the items held by a particular library. A cataloguer examines the item (book, video, map, audio tape, CD, etc.) and decides how it will be described in the library’s catalog and under what subject it will be classified. When the item is entered into the library’s online catalog database, information is entered into different fields, which are then searchable by users.
Library catalogs usually treat a book as a single “item” and catalog it that way, even if it might be a book of poetry or a book of essays by different authors. You can’t find a reference to a particular poem in the library catalog, nor to a particular essay within a book of essays. The same is true of magazines, journals and newspapers. The library catalog will tell you if the library keeps a particular periodical in its collection, but will not list all the articles within the periodical, nor will it necessarily even list all the issues of the periodical which are kept. There are other publications in the reference room which will help you retrieve these individual items, but usually not the library catalog (see Reference Sources in Libraries for examples, as well as the Find out how to search for journals and newspapers section below).
Most catalogs are searchable by author, title, subject and keyword. Some of the important things you need to know about the information in those fields is discussed below.
Searching the catalog by subject and keyword
The subject field of a catalog record contains only the words or phrases used by the cataloguer when assigning a subject heading. If the library is using Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), for example, the subject heading for a book about how playing football affects the players’ bodies would probably be assigned the subject heading “Football—physiological aspects.” Unless you type in that entire phrase as your search term, you won’t find the book by searching the subject field.
Subject field searching can be very helpful, but you must find out how the subject you’re looking for is worded by using the subject manuals or getting help from the reference librarian. Once you zero in on an appropriate subject heading, a search in the catalog will give you a list of all the items in the library’s collection categorized under that heading, so you can browse the collection online. Note also that most items are classified under one or two very specific subject headings, rather than under many subjects.
The keyword field of a library catalog generally searches several fields in the database record—the author, title, and description fields. The description is any information about the catalogued item which may have been entered by the cataloguer. This is not the full text of the book, nor is it an abstract (summary) of the book but rather a short paragraph containing information the cataloguer thought would be helpful to a user. This is not like searching for keywords in an indexed database like Alta Vista on the internet, where every word in a document has been recorded.
For this reason, keyword searching alone could miss an item pertinent to your research project if the keyword you use was not included in the short paragraph written by the cataloguer. It’s best to use a combination of keyword searching and subject-field searching to make a comprehensive search of the library catalog.
Searching other libraries’ catalogs
There are lots of library catalogs on the internet—but so what? You can search the catalog of a library in Timbuktu, but that doesn’t get you the book. Remember that library catalogs do not have full text of books and documents but are just a database with descriptions of the library’s holdings. There are a few, and will be more, actual online libraries where you can go to read or search full text documents. Just don’t confuse these special resources with a library catalog, which is very different. See Reference Sources on the Web for links to online books.
Find out how to search for journals and newspapers at your library
Most libraries have either print, CD-ROM, or online (either in the library or sometimes on the Web) indexes of magazine, journal and newspaper articles (referred to as periodicals) available for users. Some of these are abstracts of the articles, which are short summaries written to describe the article’s contents in enough detail so that a reader can decide whether or not to seek out the full text. Some of these sources may be in the form of full text, where the entire articles have been entered into the database.
The databases will include particular periodicals published within a span of time (for example, a popular newspaper index goes back 36 months for certain major newspapers). Know what the database you’re searching contains and whether it’s represented as abstract or full text. Get some pointers from the reference librarian about how to search that particular database, and build on what you’ve learned about search syntax and search techniques from Skills for Online Searching.
Note that these resources, whether print or digital, contain information about periodicals which may not be held by your library. If the database does not have full text articles, you may find an article right on point to your topic, but that particular newspaper or journal may not be in your library’s collection. There are ways to get these articles, the fastest ways involving paying a fee to a company in the business of providing articles to researchers! Check out your options with the reference desk if you need an article that’s not in your library’s collection.
Bibliography surfing
Web surfing is finding an interesting Web page and then using the hyperlinks on that page to jump to other pages. If you find the first page interesting, chances are you’ll also be interested in the pages the author has chosen to link to.
Librarians and researchers have been doing this for a long time, in the print medium. It’s a valuable tool for identifying sources on your chosen topic.
What you do is use the bibliography provided at the end of an encyclopedia article, journal article or book that you’ve found particularly pertinent to your topic and follow the bibliographic references much as you would hyperlinks on the Web. Since you’re locating items which influenced the author of the original article and to which he or she referred, they’re likely to be “on point” to your topic. Then use the bibliography at the end of those cited articles to find even more items, and so on.
Consult the reference librarian for advice
Several times above, you’ve been advised to consult the reference librarian. Reference librarians can help save you a lot of time because they know their library’s collection very well—both the reference collection and the nonfiction collection—and can often tell you “off the top of their heads” whether or not the library has a particular item you’re looking for. They are also skilled searchers, both of the library’s catalog and of online resources such as CD-ROM, online databases and the internet. In addition, they’re trained in teaching others to use these resources and are glad to do so.
Learn about search syntax and professional search techniques
To be successful at any kind of online searching, you need to know something about how computer searching works. At this time, much of the burden is on the user to intelligently construct a search strategy, taking into account the peculiarities of the particular database and search software. The section on Skills for online searching will get you started. http://www.ipl.org/div/aplus/library.htm

The American Library Association recommends:

Online Resources for Parents and Children
America Links Up
America Links Up was a broad-based public awareness campaign to ensure that every child in America has a safe, educational and rewarding experience online. The site is no longer active and is being hosted here by GetNetWise for archival purposes. http://kids.getnetwise.org/americalinksup/index.shtml
Child Safety on the Information Superhighway
Larry Magid, a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times, gives tips for becoming street smart on the Web. His “Guidelines for Parents” explains how to deal with everything from suggestive or misleading content to the danger of online-arranged meetings with strangers. http://www.safekids.com/child-safety-on-the-information-highway/
Especially for Young People and Their Parents
This page includes links to online safety rules and suggestions, designed-for-children search engines, all ALA great sites, and other great sites for parents and young people. Also includes links to privacy pages.
GetNetwise
An online service of companies and non-profit groups concerned about child safety on the Internet. The Web site provides a comprehensive “Web-wide” resource with safety tips, ways to report online trouble, tech tools for families, great Web sites for kids and a glossary of Internet terms.
Great Web Sites for Kids
Links to Web sites for fun and learning. Recommended and organized by topic by children’s librarians. Sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA. http://gws.ala.org/
Kids’ Safety (GetNetWise)
Learn about the risks kids face online, based on age levels or types of activities. Concerns about privacy are addressed as well. Quick tips for kids, teens, and families.
The Librarian’s Guide to Cyberspace for Parents & Kids
See The Librarians Guide to Great Sites for Kids below.
The Librarians Guide to Great Sites for Kids http://www.kids.getnetwise.org/
Formerly titled The Librarian’s Guide to Cyberspace for Parents & Kids. Telephone: 800-545-2433. ext. 5044/5041 or e-mail pio@ala.org for more information.
The Parents’ Guide to the Information Superhighway
Rules and tools for families online from The Children’s Partnership. Comprehensive look at the information superhighway and what parents should know to help their children use it safely and wisely.
Parents’ Guide to the Internet
From the U.S. Department of Education (archived information; 1997), this guide suggests how parents can help their children tap into the wonders of the Internet while safeguarding them from potential hazards. http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/parents/internet/index.html
Privacy (GetNetWise)
As the Internet has grown in complexity, many consumers feel they may be disclosing information about themselves and their online travels that they’d rather keep private. GetNetWise provides information about tools and techniques to better control how much personal information you share with online stores, Web sites, emailers, chatters and other people who may use your computer. http://privacy.getnetwise.org/
Privacy Resources for Librarians, Library Users, and Families
This resource is intended to help librarians and all library users understand the issue of privacy and confidentiality.
Safety Tips for Kids on the Internet from the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Site focuses on online safety and ways to report abuses. http://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids-safety
A Safety Net for the Internet: A Parent’s Guide http://www.nypl.org/help/finding-things
What parents should know about the Internet from the New York Public Library. http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=litoolkit&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=50662

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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The slow reading movement

31 Jan

The Slow Reading Movement is part of the “slow movement” which aims to decrease the pace of life and promote greater comprehension. Holly Ramer of AP reports on the slow reading movement. In the article, NH Professor Pushes For Return of the Slow Reading which was reprinted in the Seattle Times, Ramer reports:

At a time when people spend much of their time skimming websites, text messages and e-mails, an English professor at the University of New Hampshire is making the case for slowing down as a way to gain more meaning and pleasure out of the written word.

Thomas Newkirk isn’t the first or most prominent proponent of the so-called “slow reading” movement, but he argues it’s becoming all the more important in a culture and educational system that often treats reading as fast food to be gobbled up as quickly as possible.

“You see schools where reading is turned into a race, you see kids on the stopwatch to see how many words they can read in a minute,” he said. “That tells students a story about what reading is. It tells students to be fast is to be good.”

Newkirk is encouraging schools from elementary through college to return to old strategies such as reading aloud and memorization as a way to help students truly “taste” the words. He uses those techniques in his own classroom, where students have told him that they’ve become so accustomed from flitting from page to page online that they have trouble concentrating while reading printed books.

“One student told me even when he was reading a regular book, he’d come to a word and it would almost act like a hyper link. It would just send his mind off to some other thing,” Newkirk said. “I think they recognize they’re missing out on something.”

The idea is not to read everything as slowly as possible, however. As with the slow food movement, the goal is a closer connection between readers and their information, said John Miedema, whose 2009 book “Slow Reading” explores the movement.

“It’s not just about students reading as slowly as possible,” he said. “To me, slow reading is about bringing more of the person to bear on the book.”

Wikipedia has additional information about slow reading

The University of New Hampshire where Professor Newkirk teaches has a press release which summarizes his case for slow reading. In Key To Children Reading More is Fostering Reading More Slowly Newkirk’s philosophy is summarized:

Newkirk proposes several strategies for “slowing down and reclaiming the acoustical properties of written language—for savoring it, for enjoying the infinite ways a sentence can unfold—and for returning to passages that sustain and inspire us. Many of these strategies are literally as old as the hills.”

  • Memorizing: Memorization is often called “knowing by heart,” and for good reason. Memorizing enables us to possess a text in a special way.
  • Reading Aloud: Reading aloud is a regular activity in elementary classrooms, but it dies too soon. Well-chosen and well-read texts are one of the best advertisements for literacy. By reading aloud, teachers can create a bridge to texts that students might read; they can help reluctant readers imagine a human voice animating the words on the page.
  • Attending to Beginnings: Writers often struggle with their beginnings because they are making so many commitments; they are establishing a voice, nrrator, and point of view that are right for what will follow. These openings often suggest a conflict. They raise a question, pose a problem, create an “itch to be scratched.” Readers need to be just as deliberate and not rush through these carefully constructed beginnings. As teachers, we can model this slowness.
  • Rethinking Time Limits on Reading Tests: We currently give students with disabilities additional time to complete standardized tests; we should extend this opportunity to all students. Tests place too high a premium on speed, and limits are often set for administrative convenience rather than because of a reasoned belief in what makes good readers.
  • Annotating a Page: In this activity, students probe the craft of a favorite writer. They pick a page they really like, photocopy it, and tape the photocopy to a larger piece of paper so they have wide margins in which they can make notations. Their job is to give the page a close reading and mark word choices, sentence patterns, images, dialogue—anything they find effective. A variation of this activity is a quote and comment assignment in which students copy out passages by hand that they find particularly meaningful and then comment on why they chose those passages. Copying a passage slows us down and creates an intimacy with the writer’s style—a feel for word choice and for how sentences are formed.
  • Reading Poetry: Even in this age of efficiency and consumption, it is unlikely that anyone will reward students for reading a million poems. Poems can’t be checked off that way. They demand a slower pace and usually several readings—and they are usually at their best when read aloud.
  • Savoring Passages: Children know something that adults often forget—the deep pleasure of repetition, of rereading, or of having parents reread, until the words seem to be part of them.

Thomas Newkirk is a professor of English at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author and editor of a number of books, including “Holding On to Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones: Six Literacy Principles Worth Fighting For(2009), “Teaching the Neglected ‘R’ “(2007), and “Misreading Masculinity”(2004), which was cited by Instructor Magazine as one of the most significant books for teachers in the past decade. Newkirk is a former teacher of at-risk high school students in Boston, former director of UNH’s freshman English program, and the director and founder of its New Hampshire Literacy Institutes. He has studied literacy learning at a variety of educational levels, from preschool to college.

Professor Newkirk has written the article, Reading is not a race: The virtues of the ‘slow reading’ movement for the Washington Post:

This obsession with speed has not always been dominant. The McGuffey readers encouraged patience and repeated readings that would lead to oral performance. But in the 1920s, reading educators argued that oral reading was too slow and inefficient—in fact, students needed to cut themselves off from any connection to sound and oral performance.

One popular guide at the time advised teachers to have students — literally — hold their tongue while reading, thus preventing sounding out words. Another technique was to bring a piece of wood to class and bite down on it while reading. Another was to allow them to chew gum while reading. If sound was turned off in these ways, students could process bigger visual chunks.

I myself am a slow reader. Always have been. I enter a book or essay carefully, trying to get a feel for this writer/narrator/teller that I will spend time with. I hear the language, feel the movement of sentences, pay attention to punctuation, sense pauses, feel the writer’s energy (or lack of it), construct the voice and temperament of the writer.

If I am going to spend time with an author, I want to hear his or her voice — I want some human connection.

I have therefore joined the slow reading movement. Like the slow food movement, it is about more than just slowing down, though that is part of it. It is about an intimacy with authors; it is about paying attention, about caring, about rereading and savoring what we read. It is about finding the right pace. About pleasure more than efficiency.

Slow reading is also about recovering old practices that have traditionally aided readers in paying attention — oral performance, annotation, exploring complex and difficult passages. It is about reading that generates ideas for writing, what Ralph Waldo Emerson called “creative reading.” And even memorization.    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/reading-is-not-a-race-the-virtues-of-the-slow-reading-movement/2012/01/25/gIQA4RVCbQ_blog.html

There should be a variety of strategies to help people read and comprehend. There shouldn’t be a one size fits all approach to education. The goal remains providing a good basic education for all.

See, Illiteracy in America   https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/illiteracy-in-america/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Illiteracy in America

7 Dec

This is an absolutely jaw-dropping statistic. According the article, Opinion Brief: Detroit’s ‘shocking’ 47 percent illiteracy rate which was posted at The Week:

More than 200,000 Detroit residents — 47 percent of Motor City adults — are “functionally illiterate,” according to a new report released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. That means they can’t fill out basic forms, read a prescription, or handle other tasks most Americans take for granted, according to the fund’s director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, as quoted by CBS Detroit. Her organization’s study also found that the education and training aimed at overcoming these problems “is inadequate at best,” says Jackie Headapohl at Michigan Live. http://theweek.com/article/index/215055/detroits-shocking-47-percent-illiteracy-rate

Illiteracy is a global problem, with some geographic areas and populations suffering more from illiteracy than others.

Education Portal defines illiteracy in the article, Illiteracy: The Downfall of American Society.

Most people think of literacy as a simple question of being able to read. But while a young child who can work her way through a basic picture book is considered to have age-appropriate literacy levels, an adult who can only read at the most fundamental level is still functionally illiterate.

The world requires that adults not only be able to read and understand basic texts, but also be able to function in the workplace, pay bills, understand legal and financial documents and navigate technology – not to mention the advanced reading comprehension skills required to pursue postsecondary education and the opportunities that come with it.

As a result, when we talk about the effects of illiteracy on society, we’re talking primarily about what happens when you have a large number of adults whose literacy skills are too low to perform normal, day-to-day tasks. However, it is worth keeping in mind that childhood illiteracy is, of course, directly correlated to adult illiteracy.

http://education-portal.com/articles/Illiteracy_The_Downfall_of_American_Society.html

The key concept is the individual cannot adequately function in the society in which they live. That means that tasks necessary to provide a satisfactory life are difficult because they cannot read and/or comprehend what they read.

ProLiteracy provides basic facts about illiteracy in the article, Basic Facts about Literacy:

Literacy is the ability to read, write, compute, and use technology at a level that enables an individual to reach his or her full potential as a parent, employee, and community member.

  • There are 759 million adults–approximately 16 percent of the world’s population–who have only basic or below basic literacy levels in their native languages.
  • Two-thirds of the world’s lowest literate adults are women (640 million women have basic or below basic literacy skills).
  • In the U.S., 63 million adults — 29 percent of the country’s adult population —over age 16 don’t read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level.
  • An additional 30 million 14 percent of the country’s adult population — can only read at a fifth grade level or lower.
  • Forty-three percent of adults with the lowest literacy rates in the United States live in poverty.
  • The United States ranks fifth on adult literacy skills when compared to other industrialized nations.
  • Adult low literacy can be connected to almost every socio-economic issue in the United States:
    • More than 65 percent of all state and federal corrections inmates can be classified as low literate.
    • Low health literacy costs between $106 billion and $236 billion each year in the U.S.
    • Seventy-seven million Americans have only a 2-in-3 chance of correctly reading an over-the-counter drug label or understanding their child’s vaccination chart.
    • Low literacy’s effects cost the U.S. $225 billion or more each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.
  • Globally, illiteracy can be linked to:
    • Gender abuse, including female infanticide and female circumcision
    • Extreme poverty (earning less than $1/day)
    • High infant mortality and the spread of HIV/Aids, malaria, and other preventable infectious diseases http://www.proliteracy.org/page.aspx?pid=345

Many of those who are illiterate are successful in hiding the fact that they cannot read.

According to the Gaston Literacy Council, there are Signs of Illiteracy:

Common Things Someone In Need Of Literacy Services Might Say or Do:

  • May I take that application home to fill it out and bring it back to you?

  • You read the work order and I’ll gather up the tools.

  • Could you fill this out for me?  I forgot my glasses.

  • I don’t like to read.

  • I didn’t bring my glasses.  Can you tell me what this says?

  • Fake a coughing fit and/or leave the Sunday School class or other assembly when it’s their turn to read.

  • May I take this test orally?  It makes my eyes burn to read.

  • I don’t need to write that down; I’ll remember it.

  • I lost my appointment card.  What time is my appointment?

  • Cannot read the appointment card and habitually shows up really early or too late.

  • I can see really well far away, but can’t make out anything up close.

  • Received a certificate of attendance instead of a diploma.

  • Always unable to find a pencil or paper when asked to take a phone message.

  • At a restaurant, “I’ll have what he’s having.”

http://www.gastonliteracy.org/dnn/LiteracyFacts/tabid/61/Default.aspx

Solving illiteracy is a complex problem, but for an excellent analysis of the problem, go to Illiteracy in America. Extent, Causes, and Suggested Solutions, Patricia H. Smith and others .

Here is the abstract:

This report examines reasons for the varying estimates of illiteracy in the United States. It discusses why the agency charged with transmitting literacy, the public school system, has not satisfactorily accomplished this task and recommends improvements to reduce and eradicate illiteracy. Part 1 focuses on the confusion about the extent of illiteracy because of varying definitions of literacy. The relationship between literacy and the economy is discussed in light of business and industrial needs for and concern over the lack of a literate work force. Other factors affecting estimates of illiteracy are highlighted. Part 2 considers causation by examining how each of the various elements woven into the fabric of education contribute to the decline in literacy. The discussion centers on an examination of the changes resulting from three important shifts in American culture and education: a philosophical shift from traditional to progressive, a societal shift from traditional to permissive, and a governance shift from local to state and federal and from lay to professional. The issue of holding schools responsible is addressed. Part 3 offers recommendations for prevention of the problem with accompanying explanations. These are made in response to the three shifts discussed in section 2. A conclusion summarizes stated and implied recommendations. A list of 288 references is included. (YLB)

Citation:

Illiteracy in America. Extent, Causes, and Suggested Solutions.

Smith, Patricia H.;  And Others

Full-Text Availability Options:

PDF ERIC Full Text (7706K)

So much attention has been focused on testing, that some of the basic skills which children must learn, like reading have been neglected.

Resources:

National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)

http://nces.ed.gov/naal/lit_history.asp

Illiteracy: An Incurable Disease or Education Malpractice?

http://www.nrrf.org/essay_Illiteracy.html

Living in the Shadows: Illiteracy in America                      http://abcnews.go.com/WN/LegalCenter/story?id=4336421&page=1#.Tt8XMFbfW-c

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©