In this day and age, we should not be having a conversation about the alarming illiteracy rates among adults in the United States of America. Why is this pattern of functional illiteracy becoming an apparent norm among many adults? We should be extremely concerned about the basic reading aptitude plaguing a significant amount of adults, just as much as we are about our children. Literacy is the ability to read and write proficiently and understandably. Functional illiteracy is a person's inability or insufficiency to perform practical, everyday tasks that require basic reading, writing and math skills. Those who fall in this category try to avoid reading and writing as much as possible.
Adults are supposed to be the leaders who inspire greatness for the next generation and not the other way around. In some situations however, we find that children are using their thinking, compassion and rationalization skills more and better than some adults are.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), approximately 22% of American adults function with minimal literacy skills. Over half of this group did not complete their education through high school. Many are immigrants or experience some type of physical, mental or psychological difficulty. Yet, we must ask what the excuse is for adults, age eighteen and over, who do not suffer from major disabilities or have legitimate reasons for falling into that functional illiteracy category? How do we teach our children to embrace constructive learning principles, moral responsibility, literacy competitiveness and growth development for the future, if we do not practice them ourselves?
Those who possess functional illiteracy could have some of the following traits in common:
1. Find it hard to fill out simple applications and forms.
2. Have difficulty following written instructions.
3. Be unable to plausibly communicate orally or in a written format.
4. Suffer deadly consequences as a result of not being able to follow life-saving medicinal instructions as prescribed by their doctor and could experience elevated health risks.
5. Be incapable of effectively communicating through modern technology.
6. Be linked with certain crimes and criminal patterns of behavior, according to some sociologists and criminal behavioral analysts.
7. Have fewer employment choices and higher substandard wages.
In a nation where we have a myriad of good educational resources, we should not be having a conversation about our alarming functional illiteracy rates, simply because we are not utilizing these resources prudently. Illiteracy, regardless of what form or function it is in, should not be a norm that we must simply accept and become comfortable with.Functional Illiteracy: A Debilitating Deficiency With 7 Common Traits