Education is taken for granted due to the fact that it is readily available from the national system to all individuals. Circumstances, however, have made illiteracy in the United States an ever increasing fact of modern life. Poverty, for one, carries with it many consequences which lead to people not being fully literate. This in turn leads to greater difficulties in employment and living.
Fortunately, for every problem there is a solution. Individuals who cannot read or write properly should not dwell on this handicap but seek to remedy it. Leave all the obstacles of the past behind and follow your heart and your mind which have long been urging you to do something to pull yourself out of this misery.
Where to begin:
a) Some fellow citizens may not be able to read this article. Those who do read it and have friends, relatives or neighbors who are suffering, let them know they are not alone. Show them the way.
First and foremost make a core felt decision to change no matter what the sacrifices. Such sacrifices may be admitting that there is something lacking to your social group, your children but mostly to yourself.
b) Know that every single human being makes his share of serious mistakes. Always remember ‘to err is human’. Forgive yourself for past wrong decisions and look forward. You can write a different story that is yours.
c) Know that your positive steps, no matter how small, will motivate and be a positive influence to all those around you; especially children—more importantly your children.
Steps to take:
1) There are programs all over the US where adults can join and improve their literacy skills. For instance, at ProLiteracy one can find locations all over the United States which help in this area. In Houston, where this writer searched, there are four such agencies ready and waiting to assist only in the vicinity yours truly requested. All over the city there are agencies to turn to. Thus, other cities are also filled with places to turn to for help. Help is out there, seek it out.
2) When choosing to do this alone, the first step is to learn the alphabet and the sounds letters form when placed together-should one truly need to. There are clever sites which were oriented for children but which are accommodating for anyone who needs to learn. However, a teacher or patient guide is necessary, at least at the beginning. It can be anyone willing to be patient and understanding if a professional is not available.
3) Make a program and stick to it. As human beings, people are conditioned to respond to programs –routines. So, it only follows suit that one should organize a schedule which will be easy to keep to. If one is employed, it is only natural to study in the evenings. If it is something that you dread but are forcing yourself to do, start out with quantum steps; half an hour the first week and gradually build it up to one or one and a half hours.
4) Remember reading and writing are part and parcel. In order to better learn what one is reading (more sophisticated texts), often it is necessary to also write the information down. This forms neural pathways in the brain which help in the long term memory. Not only that, but by doing so the writing is automatically practiced. Moreover, in doing so one helps the subconscious store syntax and vocabulary which will come in handy later.
5) Equip yourself with great patience. You will become better literate but it may take a little longer than you anticipated. It all depends on you and it has nothing to do with your intelligence. Simply by taking the decision to improve your life, you have proven to the world that you are a highly intelligent individual. It is simply that each person learns at a different pace; some learn quickly while others more slowly and it depends on the interest the material sparks in the individual.
To conclude, this writer would like to congratulate those who made up their minds to become better literate no matter the difficulties. It is the single most important step anyone can take towards a better lifestyle. Congratulations!
The next most important point to keep in mind is that ‘all good things come to those who wait.’ The truth is that once that door of opportunity is opened there is no turning back; life will continue to go forward and slowly but surely improve.