The Roots of Illiteracy Essays

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The Roots of Illiteracy A problem that pervades our society and threatens to undermine all of the "advances" of our culture is illiteracy. Why is illiteracy so prominent in the United States? In such a diverse culture the causes of illiteracy cannot be easily pointed out. The United States has one of the most expensive higher educational systems in the world, yet 43% of adults read at a level that scarcely makes it possible to function in society. Almost 22% of adults are not be able to find their street on a road map. (McGuinness, p. 9) One in five adults cannot read a road sign, fill out an application, or read an ingredient label (Level 1). High schools give diplomas to graduating classes where 20% read at a…show more content…
(McGuinness, p. 6) Reading tutors many times simply run the same drills with students who have difficulty reading that the schools give. This only discourages the child and often leads to functional illiteracy as an adult. (McEwan, p. 7) However, with proper instruction with a reading specialist many kids can overcome their reading deficiencies. In addition to dyslexia and other common disorders there are children who have brain damage. Obviously this is a factor that must be accepted and taken into account when assessing illiteracy though it relates to a small number (2-3% of the total school age population) of literacy challenged kids. (McGuinness, p.116-117) Reading abilities are directly influenced by a child's social context. The International Studies in Educational Achievement group performed a study to understand correllations between reading proficiency and many social and cultural factors in thirty-two school systems in as many countries. Among the many factors studied certain conditions stand out as having strong correlations to reading ability. Socioeconomic status typically related to a particular reading ability. Poorer less privileged kids were less likely to be able to read at a level appropriate for their age. Typically these parents spent less time reading to or with their kids and possessed less reading material in the home for the children to read. (Elley, p. 92-93) If the parent does not provide a positive reading example for the
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