A Nation Of Nonreaders - page 4

by TheCommuter 7,543 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. 1
    This video was shown at a conference I attended recently. It's long, but it is worth watching. In fact, every nursing student, every nurse, every doctor should see this video.

    Yeah, it's like that. I promise. Really.

    Thank you, again, Commuter for posting this article and bringing this issue to light.

    TheCommuter likes this.
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    Thank you for this article. I had no idea how big of an issue illiteracy was in the United States.

    In 11th grade English, I fell in love with The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, and Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

    It appears that the expectations for my generation are a lot lower than those for previous generations. I am afraid that technology has devalued important skills like reading and writing...And most importantly, it has devalued the importance of literature.
    Szasz_is_Right likes this.
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    Quote from CheesePotato
    This video was shown at a conference I attended recently. It's long, but it is worth watching. In fact, every nursing student, every nurse, every doctor should see this video.

    Yeah, it's like that. I promise. Really.

    Thank you, again, Commuter for posting this article and bringing this issue to light.


    Great minds -- that's the same video I posted earlier!

    It really is worth the watch, people!
    PMFB-RN likes this.
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    Tl;DR
    anotherone likes this.
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    The university I attended for my first degree (BA) deducted one letter grade for every spelling or typo in your papers. That gets your attention. Now I know I'm going to get flamed for voting on the side of BSN requirement to take NYCLEX ( a more difficult NYCEX) but all these liberal arts courses, that posters say are irrelevant, force you to use your brain muscle. They force you to reach and stretch to achieve something you'd never do unless it was required. Unfortunately, colleges have abandoned their ethics in order to collect tuition payments from people who didn't get ready for college. Perhaps they should be given a second chance and take a grade 13 (a good return on my tax money) so they can pass the literacy test that should be a requirement for ever college since so many colleges have such lax requirements. Taxpayers have a right to be furious about their dollars going to schools which have abandoned their mission. My personal experience was that a state university was much more rigorous than private school. The state university accepted 3 students for every 2 seats that existed after the first semester. 1/3 of the students were flunked out by second semester and, if they wanted to continue their education, could transfer to one of the less rigorous state colleges. Times have changed for sure. State universities in my state have gained a lot of prestige because they're so competitive. Remember that private schools usually get federal dollars so we have
    every right to demand better standards for their graduates.
    monkeybug likes this.
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    You should see some of the lecture slides in my class. It is as if my professor doesn't know the difference between "than" or "then" and other basic grammar. As an aspiring novelist, I just shake my head.
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    Quote from subee
    The university I attended for my first degree (BA) deducted one letter grade for every spelling or typo in your papers. That gets your attention. Now I know I'm going to get flamed for voting on the side of BSN requirement to take NYCLEX ( a more difficult NYCEX) but all these liberal arts courses, that posters say are irrelevant, force you to use your brain muscle.
    *** Uh, what is the NYCLEX?
  8. 0
    Quote from CT Pixie
    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.
    In my opinion, video games are the top contributors of illiteracy in America. I have an eight-year old cousin who spends HOURS playing violent, wrestling video games. Didn't see ONE book in his room, but there were a bunch of mindless video games on his shelves. He is also "home-schooled" but I doubt he is getting a quality education with those HOURS of hardcore gaming.

    I used to like playing Super Mario, but I honestly would rather read a good book or watch a mind-blowing movie like Cloud Atlas, movies that make you *think*.
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    Can I just say that I laughed my butt off at myself for posting a duplicate vid link because someone :cough: ::no eye contact:: didn't read the link in Brillo's post. Apparently. And the fact that I did such a thing in a thread about reading just tickles the bujeezus out of my warped funny bone. Nice. And Brillo......I.....I don't even.....can I just blame acute idiocy?
    bbuerke likes this.
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    Sadly this is something I am very familiar with. I worked in a large urban hospital in a city with a school system notorious for poor quality. Many of my patient's could not read. Many of them struggled with addition as well. It was maddening and made me both angry and sad at the same time. Patient education was often a laborious process. I learned quickly to stop using terms like hypertension, diabetes, and acid-reducer. Replaced with high blood pressure or high blood, sugar, and "this pill is for your belly so you don't get heartburn."

    One of our standard admitting questions was can you write and comprehend in English. I have never once had a patient answer no. Non-readers are often ashamed and very fearful to admit to their condition. Especially to the middle-aged white lady who they perceive as "one of them."

    I started to notice trends among patient's that clued me in to the fact that they could not read. Patient's who couldn't read would often ask me to wait and give consents/instructions, etc. to family members or friends. They would use multiple excuses "I am too tired, too sick, too overwhelmed etc. Many times they would become angry or act bothered when asked to fill out forms. Often times every interaction with them felt confrontational. Patient teaching became "just give me the stuff and let me go." They would hurry me, just give me the form and let me sign I already talked to the doctor about it etc. If you questioned their ability to read they would often get angry, ask for another nurse etc. Often times when given a form they would go straight to the line with an x. If the form did not contain a line with an x they would sign in odd places. They would often ask me to order lunch or breakfast for them. "Just get me whatever you think I would like nurse, I am too tired to deal with this right now."

    The best way to deal with a patient whom you suspect cannot read or is not comprehending is to take that out of the equation completely. Do not confront them and make them admit to it. Allow them to keep their dignity. If they want to confide in you they will. Don't force it. Never confuse an inability to read with intelligence. I got to the point where I would just assume every patient I had could not read or had comprehension issues.

    When I had forms that needed to be filled out I would take them into the room and sit down with the patient and ask them the questions. I would then point out where they needed to sign and give them copies of anything they signed so when a reading family/friend showed up they could look the form over. I would set up room service so that someone would call and take their order without their needing to ask. When giving instructions for anything new meds, discharge instructions etc. always give them their prescriptions seperately and tell them these are for your medications you need to give them to the pharmacy. Always, always make sure they know signs/symptoms to return for!!!!

    For teaching make things simple, allow them to lead you, and ask them to explain back to you. You will find out quickly if they need more information or not.
    alotusforyou and nguyency77 like this.


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