Adult Illiteracy

Not being able to read is the biggest barrier to living life to the full. Particularly, as we live in a world that now provides the largest percentage of words throughout history – supplied via the media, hard copy and ever-improving technology.

When illiteracy reaches into adulthood, the effects are heartbreaking, but there are also avenues open to them to achieve certain goals e.g. getting driving licenses or some certificates. This is made possible through support networks that are often initiatives of government or community services.

Not being able to read is not just a physical or mental inability. To protect one self, attitudes play a large part in illiteracy. By telling one self, “I cannot read” multiple times in a day that leads into weeks, months and years this also impacts on creating blocks in a person’s mind and brain and thinking processes. The result is that a person can stop trying, the eyes stop seeing words and the brain retains memories of hardship and struggle for any reason related to the developed illiteracy.

Tragically, the largest barrier of not being able to read is the block to employment possibilities. The end result is that adults can only seek and apply for jobs in manual labour, production lines, or working in labouring positions where reading is not required.

Prior to this, it means that certificates and qualifications become a non-reality without a strong support basis. No matter how skilled a person is, the possibility of getting into good employment positions with ever increasing computer use and fast technology creates an even wider chasm between literacy and not being able to read fluently and comprehend what is written.

Basic functions of going to the local store can be a challenge unless a picture of a product is previously available. To not be able to read and comprehend what is written in daily newspapers or through avenues of increasing a person’s knowledge through books, the Internet and the advertising world that now surrounds us affects many levels in a person’s life.

On an even more tragic scale, illiteracy can be handed on to our children. The greatest form of encouraging literacy for children is to see their parents and families reading and writing in everyday life. This can be from writing shopping lists and reading to children from a young age through picture books into chapter books and beyond.

Through our educational systems, there arises many reasons for a person not being able to read. They may know the alphabet and be able to string words together but simply not be able to comprehend their meaning when written down on paper or on screen.

There are so many opportunities in our communities that support breaking down the barriers of not being able to read. This makes it something that can be reversed with time, effort and consistent support to lead to a more fulfilling life with boundless opportunities to create a better world through words, comprehension and reading.