Essay from Traynor Blasengame

Submitted By elsannaislove
Words: 955
Pages: 4

Traynor Blasengame
Professor Yasminda Choate
English 1113-25
What Literacy Means to Society

Literacy is a term that describes an individual's ability to not only read and write, but also represents the ability to communicate and articulate thoughts and ideas effectively. By effectively doing so, the human race is able to thrive, live the "American Dream", and perpetuate a better life for its offspring. The concept of literacy means so much more than simply decoding the written word. In the most basic of forms, literacy is the lifeblood of a society. It is the common thread that binds our cultures together. Literacy links all cultures by means of communication. That being said, it is a sad statistic that the skill of being able to read and write escapes over 42 million adult Americans. Because of this deficit, these Americans, many of whom who can't read or write at all, have very limited options in life. This situation causes a snowball effect that appears to afflict their generations that follow. On the Family Literacy website, Kim Starr writes, "Intergenerational illiteracy and poverty cannot be broken until the family as a whole begins to learn and realize the importance of education." As John Corcoran states in his website articles, "the United States is ranked 12th in the world regarding literacy". He indicates that many who are illiterate have been that way since their early childhood. Those who cannot read or write, are the result of the education they either did, or did not, receive. Either way, illiteracy affects everyone in some form or fashion. A big issue with those who haven't had the ability to read or write is poverty. Over 43% of adults live below the poverty line, causing a torrential wave of consequences. Families who live at or below the poverty line suffer from many obstacles, ranging from teen pregnancy, to children dropping out of schools. These situations generally lead to other problems which in turn affect people other than those who live in poverty. Illiteracy affects employers, co-workers, family members, offspring, and taxpayers. As an example, let's take a family who lives below the poverty line, and everyone in this family cannot read or write adequately. This family has a seventeen year old daughter who struggles with school due to reading problems and lack of support at home and has had a child out of wed-lock. This child, given the circumstances, will grow up in the same environment as the teen mother did. That child will end up not learning to adequately read or write, and it too will have a hard time in school based on what the statistics suggest. Now let us say that the family I described goes through that process only once. It's not so bad if that is the case, but what if every family who lives under the poverty line goes through the same thing, or at least something similar. That's where society's problems can arise. If many children are born at or below the poverty line, then those children will grow up in similar conditions to their families. It will be a difficult process for those children to learn to be literate, although not impossible. These children have a very high dropout rate, ranging over one million school dropouts annually, which can cause the United States billions upon billions of lost earnings, as well as money for other services. If money is spent to fund programs due to school dropout rates caused by illiteracy, then that could mean many adverse effects for others, such as lost tax revenues, and other services or programs having their funding cut. This would result in lost jobs for Americans, causing the economy to plummet. It is imperative that we keep the literacy rate up. The economy is dependent on whether or not American families can