I may have mentioned it before, but I love books. I collect books. When I was a kid and had the time I read everything I could. Sometimes two or three books at a time. I’ll admit, I have read “Gone With the Wind” 5 times.
I assumed that people who didn’t read just didn’t want to or like it. For some that is true. I never suspected that 1 in 4 Americans are functionally illiterate. This means they cannot read above a 4th grade level. Some of these people hide their illiteracy out of embarrassment and get pretty good at it. Some of the people who work closest to them still know.
I dug into this issue some more to see what is being done to help fix the problem. A problem that seems to develop between 4th and 8th grade. Clearly “No Child Left Behind” failed them. In some cases programs like Accelerated Reader seem to do nothing but further discourage kids by putting a point value on books. The students pick books and literature that do not appeal to them, and in some cases are to difficult for them just to get their points. How exactly is this supposed to inspire a love of reading?
The next step was to look at programs outside of the schools. Most free reading programs dealing with illiteracy are focused on adults. Granted in our system these are apparently necessary, they do not hit the problem at the root of the cause. Other programs geared toward school age children do little more than throw books at the issue. Throwing books at kids who are already frustrated and embarrassed is absolutely counter productive.
I think I can fix some of the problem. I was inspired to develop a study to help counter some of the issues caused by the programs in schools now. I will divulge the details a little later as things get more settled and developed.
If you have an opinion or testimony about the illiteracy issue please comment below. I really look forward to reading what you have to say on the matter, even if it is that you don’t like what I have to say. It is everyones job to leave this world better than they found it.