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Eradicating Illiteracy in Our School

Literacy is the best indication of a country's educational status and education is the best

path to a country's prosperity. If this is the case then why does the most affluent and

technologically advanced country in the world has a reading problem? The United States has

millions of citizens who cannot even read the simple instructions on a can of soup. In a

country where education is provided to everyone at no cost how do we end up with so many

people who cannot read? How do we break the cycle of illiteracy so that all children have an

equal opportunity to succeed in the world? In this paper I will discuss the history, causes, and

factors of illiteracy and hopefully some achievable solutions to the problem.

The United States started it's commitment to literacy back in the 18th century when

reading and writing were taught to all soldiers and military personnel. In the post industrial

revolution America, in an attempt to satisfy employer's need for literate workers, built schools in

the more populated areas of the country. Women, minorities, and those people living in less

populated areas had the lowest levels of literacy in the country. Eventually as society

progressed, the growing rate of functional illiteracy was noticed and steps were taken to combat

it. It seems that this was a case of too little too late. "At the end of the 19th century, the illiteracy

rate was less than 3%. Today, up to 50% of Americans are illiterate or only semi-literate .

Money Not the solution to Illiteracy. (2000). Retrieved January 28, 2002, from


How can so many people be illiterate in this day and age of technology where

information on virtually anything can be accessed by the touch of a button or the click of a

mouse? Many people blame illiteracy on bad schools

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