The Problem of Illiteracy

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The International Reading Association reports that a recent government study of adult literacy shows that 47 percent of American adults have such limited literacy skills they can neither use a bus schedule nor write a brief letter about a billing error (qtd. in Goldstein 2). Another point of view is expressed in Paul Gray's article in which he reports that the Educational Testing Service released a 150-page survey called Adult Literacy in America. The results of the survey points out that nearly ninety million U.S. citizens over the age of sixteen are, in the eyes of most employers, quite clearly not good employee material (qtd. in Educational Testing Service 75). These recent discoveries have emphasized that illiteracy's three shocking outcomes are related to: social ranks, effects on education, and economic results.

The social portion of an illiterate persons life has a staggering consequence. According to test results ethnic origin plays a role in how literate someone is. Persons in the racial minority are more likely to be found in the lower levels of literacy. Officials convey that these groups of people have usually completed fewer years of schooling, and those fewer years cause diminished literacy levels. Diminished literacy causes poverty and discrimination (Goldstein 3). An effect on Hispanics' poor scores is by having to learn English as a second language. The lack of capital effects African-Americans' low scores because the schools they attend do not have the resources necessary to provide for the students. The worst test takers were senior citizens, prisoners, and immigrants (Kaplan 45). Older adults' problems were generally linked to the facts that twilighting

Americans have completed fewer average years of schooling than younger Americans and that the mean literacy of the population rises as more educated, younger generations of residents replace the lesser educated ones (Goldstein 3). Persons speaking other languages than English might have measured out as better readers had the surveys been administered in their native tongues. Variance in the levels of male and female scores are not that outlandish. Men performed as well as females in basic reading skills but were more productive in more critical areas, such as reading maps and following instructions (Kaplan 45). The largest gain in women's literacy happened in the 19th century.
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