Try and imagine our society without a common language. This could be quite a hard idea to fathom. Allow me to assist you. If this case were in fact true, a typical conversation between two individuals would be as follows: one of the two would begin the conversation by making noises representing their language, the other person would not understand these noises and respond with unrecognizable noises to the first individual. As you can well imagine, we would be quite frustrated. Literacy is defined as the quality or state of being literate, the ability to read and write. If the symbols, letters, meanings are not agreed upon by those attempting to communicate, then interpreting each others thoughts becomes difficult. Simply stated, literacy is very important. Society has proven time and time again, it will reward those individuals who are competent and impede those who are not, whether in terms of employment opportunites or just a good social level. Without adequate literary skills, one may not be able to read and interpret a sign giving instructions on what to do incase of a fire. Jonathon Kozol states, "Illiterates cannot read instructions on a bottle of prescription medicine. They cannot find out when a medicine is past the year of safe consumption" (Kozol 205). These two examples bring perspective to literacy's importance. Although many groups are working to render the problem of illiteracy, much work sill lies ahead. Our society has moved on into a new century and literacy is proving incredible economic performance. Without basic literary skills in one's possession he or she will become lost in our rapidly changing society.
The modern worker must be able to adapt to the changing job-scene. He or she must gather new skills and knowledge from printed material, whether instruction manuals, computer programs, or classroom training from textbooks. It is quite commonly the case that highly skill jobs require a high level of literacy.