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The Many Meanings of Literacy

Literacy is not a word I commonly use. I guess I've never really stopped to think about the many things it can mean. Even though it isn't quite the truth, when I use the word literate it is usually as a part of illiterate. Example: I am usually stating that I am computer illiterate. Here is a prime example of one of the ways we can be illiterate. For the most part, that is not what we are focusing on. It was stated in the selection What is Literacy? that literacy is related to success. While I can still succeed with a slightly lower knowledge than some as far as computers go, for the most part I am still in a position where I can complete tasks. For example, I did write and post this blog. Now I guess what we should really ask ourselves is how can illiteracy prevent us from success? How can is hinder our daily interactions? I was volunteering at my assigned position when a young man asked a director a question. He couldn't read the monitor of his computer, so he was having trouble completing the assigned task. He couldn't operate the computer even if he could have read the monitor. We all have trouble with our homework on occasion, but how often does it come to a point where it becomes difficult to complete our work. How often does the work make a huge impact on our lives? Usually it doesn't. For this young man who couldn't read, it was a big deal. The document he was working on was his FAFSA. I'm assuming most are familiar with it. How important was it to fill out before you came to college? Just imagine what life would be like if you were illiterate....


I completely agree with you about not being able to imagine what it would be like to never know how to read. To think about how much reading has affected our lives and the lives of those around us, it’s amazing. I believe that someone who has never had the opportunity to read a book or write has missed a vital point of their existence. However, being illiterate does not automatic make you stupid or ignorant. What about all the people who came before us, in the ancient worlds before hieroglyphics, how they communicated and passed on stories orally. I mean, someone had to have thought of the idea of writing all these stories down. Of course, not being able to write doesn’t mean that someone cannot still express themselves with a pencil and paper. What about art that tells a story? Even the earliest cavemen wanted to tell others something with their drawings they left on the walls of their dwellings. So, illiteracy does not necessarily mean stupidity.

I think you may have something here. Whenever i think of literacy and illiteracy it usually pertains to either a skill or the reading of a book. However, there is so much more to it. Important documents like the FAFSA and taxes and the like require someone to not only be able to read and understand what is printed there, but to also have the information be in limited, or only one (English), language. This can severly cut down on opportunities. Not being able to read, in any form, is actually quite a disability in this section of the modern world. Not enough people actually consider this fact enough, or in-depth enough and we really should.