A Nation Of Nonreaders - page 3

by TheCommuter 7,676 Views | 50 Comments Senior Moderator

I first noticed this serious problem when I was 19 years old and working at a grocery store. One of my coworkers, a middle-aged mother of three who had been married for 15 years, asked for my assistance with reading and... Read More


  1. 3
    Quote from rita359
    If we consider the number of people who get out of school without being able to proficiently read, which they should be able to do at least by the fifth grade, why do we wonder that taxpayers do not want to keep increasing school taxes when schools cannot seem to accomplish even this minimal task.
    Schools share some of the blame. I also think that parents shoulder the remainder of the blame for poor literacy and numeracy. After all, there's only so much a schoolteacher can do with an unprepared child.

    The foundation for strong literacy and numeracy skills starts in infancy when babies and toddlers are read to, spoken to, and stimulated by their parents. However, masses of parents do not read to their children or help with homework assignments. According to multiple studies, children of undereducated parents have limited vocabularies and do not perform at the same level as kids born to more educated parents. They typically start behind in school and often never catch up without some intense remediation.

    Think about it. It's your educated professional households who seek out after-school tutoring, writing classes, music lessons, reading workshops, and other organized activities that inculcate literacy skills and critical thought into the mind of a child with a developing brain.

    There's an achievement gap in America, and the kids who were lucky enough to be born to parents who value education are the ones who tend to achieve.
    anotherone, i<3u, and LibraSunCNM like this.
  2. 2
    I agree with the above statement somewhere that college-level students have atrocious writing abilities. I had to practically
    re-write my partner's part of a paper in one of our classes due to the generally poor spelling, casual speech, and incoherence
    of it all. And the way some of these folks speak as future professionals...
    Szasz_is_Right and nguyency77 like this.
  3. 0
    I liked the various suggestions posted to help our marginal readers understand and retain instructions. Still, I feel the need to reach out to non readers and marginal readers, especially coworkers. Reading really is about cracking the code of written language. If a person doesn't "crack the code" while young, and being taught only one way to do it, so many give up and get discouraged. I've seen one-on-one tutoring with literacy volunteers work wonders in my community. How can I help my coworkers in a non-threatening way, without embarrassing way?
    Last edit by boggle on Dec 5, '12 : Reason: Hit "post" too soon.
  4. 1
    While there is no doubt in my mind that literacy levels are not where it should be, I really question how much they have decreased. Maybe it has just decreased for the anglophone white males, however what about women and ethnic minorities now that education is more accessible for those groups.
    anotherone likes this.
  5. 3
    We watched this video in my Fundamentals of Nursing class. It's "long" (23 minutes) but was incredibly eye-opening for me. If you have the time, I highly recommend that you watch this video:

    Health literacy and patient safety: Help patients understand - YouTube

    As someone who was reading at a 12th grade level in the 5th grade, the concept of functional illiteracy was relatively foreign to me. Seeing this video, which shows regular everyday folks who can't read/understand their prescription instructions, hit me like a ton of bricks.

    This is a real problem in our society... one that I had no clue was so prevalent.
  6. 2
    I had no idea how prevalent illiteracy or marginal literacy were, either, until nursing school. It really saddens me for these people, for our profession, and for society in general.
    anotherone and Szasz_is_Right like this.
  7. 2
    I am absolutely shocked by some of the discussion board postings in my MSN classes. Typos, incorrect words (such as worse vs. worst), mixing up similarly spelled words (they're, their, there; waist, waste; etc.). And these aren't even from people whose native language isn't English. I won't say I'm perfect, but I'd think that people who are writing something for a grade would make the extra effort to proofread.

    I found it quite eye-opening the level of illiteracy in my area and also the amazing number of ways people can find to cover for it. I do find the schools share in the responsibility by teaching to the lowest achievement level in the entire class, but parents are ultimately the ones responsible for their children's education. They are responsible for encouraging learning, helping with homework (but not just doing it), and serving as examples.
    Szasz_is_Right and nguyency77 like this.
  8. 3
    I have read to my children since the day they were born...literally. Actually, I found myself reading my books out loud when I was pregnant. My children have a love of reading. As they both got a bit older they wanted to read to me or my husband. While they didn't have the ability to actually read at that point, they would 'read' what they saw in the pictures or if no pictures, they would make up stories as they read from the book.

    Both would much rather read a good book than watch tv (thankfully neither like video games) and neither like eBooks, it must be an old fashioned paper book. Both of them have always read many, many grade levels above their actual grade. My 10 year old is reading at a 11th/12th grade level according to her teacher. Last year she was at a 10th grade level.

    It's very sad that in this day and age people still have poor reading skills and cannot comprehend a relatively simple paper.
  9. 2
    great thread! So glad I was (and still am) an avid reader! Another thing that colleges do that essentially "hide" the bad writers: group papers! The worst writers make sure to allow the best writer in the group to take the lead. That's how it was in my nursing school. I'm a strong writer and it would irritate me that the bad writers would send me atrocious work to revise! Then when the final paper is complete, who gets the A? Everybody. Then they get to advance without ever getting the opportunity to write correctly. Group papers are one way bad writing is made undetectable.
    anotherone and Szasz_is_Right like this.
  10. 0
    I watched an older nurse chart her assessments one day. I was standing behind her and she didn't realize I was watching, but my elementary school aged child is WAY more literate than this nurse was/is. She could not spell even the most simple words. I was absolutely shocked. I would compare her notes to that of a first grader (no kidding). It was as if she spelled everything out the way it sounds. If a first grader and this 50ish or 60ish year old woman both typed up a paper and printed it out, I would not be able to tell which paper belonged to which person. I'm just guessing that she has a disability (maybe dyslexia) that has allowed her to get by all this time. I bet spell check was a life saver for her! That's actually how she gets by with electronic charting. She copies/pastes her notes into a word document, spell checks, and then transfers them back over. It's wild and it takes her FOREVER to chart.


Top