Fighting Illiteracy

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate May 2001

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Illiteracy is a problem that is plaguing our society today. Statistics given in an article by Martha Brown on the topic of illiteracy say "the United States, like Haiti, is among the seven out of 39 Western Hemisphere nations entering the third millennium with a literacy rate below 80 percent. It is something that affects both the people who are illiterate and the society around them. Millions of dollars are spent each year by companies and the government to try to teach illiterate adults how to read. But how does illiteracy begin? Is it our school system that is failing our children? Some people would argue that yes it is our school system that is not working for our children. There have been many changes made in order to try to alleviate the problem of our children finishing school without being able to read. There are many problems that come with being illiterate and due to these problems the illiterate suffer a great deal.

Imagine going to the supermarket and not being able to read any of the labels on the food that you are trying to buy. You must rely on the pictures that are provided on the packaging to decipher what is in the package. Once you get it home there is no way for you to figure out how to cook it. You have to hope that pictures of the cooking instructions are provided. Imagine just trying to get to that supermarket. You can't read street signs so you just try to recognize familiar landmarks. But as soon as you miss one you are lost in a world that is full of strange writing that you cannot decipher. This is the world that the illiterate live in.

I feel that we need to make an enormous effort...