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How can anyone honestly be illiterate?

I am not talking about mispelling things or having a mental disorder. Is it because of poor school systems from long ago? I mean a store asked for a donation for illiterate adults and I thought WTF? I would be mad if I went through school and still couldn't read.


Asked by Anonymous at 8:30 PM on May. 22, 2009 in Just for Fun

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Answers (5)
  • Keep in mind, too, that some people like my late grandfather-in-law grew up on farms and out in the sticks. It was common for them to only go so far in school and then drop out to help on the family farm. He never got a driver's license because he couldn't read to take the test! I'm guessing that people in situations like that are the adults they're trying to help (along with the ones everyone else has mentioned).

    Answer by beadingmom17 at 9:11 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • They used to just push people through school without regards to them actually knowing anything. My dad would be in his 60s today and could hardly read anything at all. Barely enough to get by, and even then I'm not sure he could read or had just gotten really good at faking it.

    My 93 year old grandmother can't read a word. I remember being in 1st or 2nd grade and trying to teach her how. My aunts have also tried putting her into reading programs for adults long ago, but she just does not want to. It has kept her dependent on others around her, and I think she prefers it. I can't comprehend looking at a street sign and being unable to know what it means unless it has a picture.

    When I was 18 I volunteered through the county teaching adults to read. I had 2 women I successfully got reading to a 6th grade level that were both mentally retarded. I wasn't able to help my grandmother, but I was able to help these women.

    Answer by Ginger0104 at 8:35 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • It's easy to fall through the cracks. Especially in over crowded schools. Also, literacy in not just the ability to read a written word, it is also about comprehension. As the things you read become more sophisticated your literary skills need to be stronger to comprehend what you are reading. Even just to read an article in the news paper or a study in a magazine you need to be able to do more than just read the words on the page. You need to process them and analyze them as well. You'd be surprised how many people can not do this, yet consider themselves literate.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:35 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • Standards in the schools have changes quite a bit in recent years. All the high stakes testing that has recently become prevalent is designed to stop children from being pushed through school without learning necessary skills. (Now whether or not that works is another question)

    The reason some kids learn to read while others sit in the same classrooms and don't progress is a matter of the way our brains function.  We don't all learn things the same way.

    I taught adult basic education classes for several years and I believe that the vast majority of the illiterate adults I worked with had a sever learning disability that prevented them from learning to read in the same way most of us do. 


    Answer by MAUREEN55 at 8:46 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • Illiteracy continues to be a problem in the US... anon above covered it well.

    Answer by Collinsky at 8:47 PM on May. 22, 2009