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Old 02-27-2017, 01:07 PM
1,585 posts, read 1,262,358 times
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Originally Posted by GoodHombre View Post
It's said that 14% U.S adults can't read. STATS | Illiteracy Statistics and Demographics

But personally I don't even know even a single person who cannot read. If you speak English, it should be really easy to learn how to read.

Have you ever met someone who can't read? to what extent? I'm just curious.
"Hi, are you literate or illiterate?" is not in my standard repertoire of greetings.
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Old 02-27-2017, 01:12 PM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
24,241 posts, read 58,473,033 times
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My wife is a Librarian. A surprising number of illiterate people come into the library. Most want help applying for things online welfare, jobs, Obamacare, income tax return, etc. Some expect the Librarians to teach them to read. Others got something in the mail and want to know what it says. One lady had a letter from her son and wanted someone to read it to her, then wanted them to write back to him for her.

Most are very nice and if they say they are not allowed, accept it. Some are belligerent. Demanding "you work for me!" I pay you" (Kinda doubt the illiterate person who comes in during the middle of the day for help with a welfare application is paying taxes).

They are limited in what they are allowed to do, but often the librarians do things they are technically not supposed to. She is not going to tell the Lady no you cannot respond to your son, I cannot take ten minutes to write your letter for you. Surprisingly to me, my wife sometimes bends rules to help the belligerent ones. She says they need help as much or more than the next person and are less likely to find any help elsewhere becasue they are so nasty. I wish I were that good of a person.

Librarian, scribe, tax accountant, teacher, counselor, employment caseworker. . . . The public expects them to have a lot of titles, especially the illiterate public. Many of them get mad when they say "I can help you find the form, I cannot give you advice what to write on it." Sometimes they will say, you tell me what you want to write, and I will type it in for you. Then add maybe you want to say XXXX instead?

It cannot imagine how difficult it would b to be illiterate in today's world.
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Old 02-27-2017, 01:13 PM
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Yes, I have on several occasions. Through some past jobs, I have met people who could only legally sign documents under their printed name simply with an X.

In times past, I've also worked with people who were functionally illiterate. They could read numbers and a few letters, but nothing more and certainly not long words or entire sentences. There are more people like this than you may think and they are not all necessarily in the older crowd.
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:11 PM
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
145 posts, read 73,551 times
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I used to teach at a major journalism college. One day I saw a large man almost in tears outside the office. I asked what was wrong and he said he was trying to get back into school but was rejected. He was a former football player, someone whose name I knew. I offered to go to bat for him, and he said not to bother. Although he had been in the journalism college: "I can barely read and write."
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:15 PM
Location: On an Island
322 posts, read 163,852 times
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My aunt. However she's very old and from another country. There wasn't a priority at that time for women to read or write, plus there was a war going on, so all of that combined caused that. In contrast her husband is very educated and her grandchildren are all doctors.
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:21 PM
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
9,230 posts, read 13,039,894 times
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Originally Posted by ylisa7 View Post
I am in a rural area and I know of one man who cannot read. He is an old time farmer and started working on the farm at a young age. I imagine there are quite a few local old timers here that cannot read but I would never ask.
Heh, I get them fairly frequently at work. They are all older people who tell me they can't read because they spent much of their childhood on the farms or in the mines. That can open up some interesting conversations.
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:03 PM
Location: Virginia
3,409 posts, read 1,538,794 times
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Originally Posted by GoodHombre View Post
Are they native English speakers? Do they have any medical conditions or learning disabilities?
Yes, they were all local people who had worked at the factory for years. None of them had medical conditions (the company gives extensive physical exams before hiring), and I doubt they had learning disabilities. They simply came from a poor neighborhood and had worked so long in the tobacco industry; I know some of them never made it beyond 3rd grade.
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:50 PM
3,927 posts, read 3,267,675 times
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Originally Posted by stan4 View Post
During college, I joined and then was asked to run a volunteer GED program for working adults.

I missed it in med school, so I volunteered for Literacy for Life. This was meeting once a week to 1 on 1 teach another adult to read.

So, yeah...
That was good of you stan4. Thank you.
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Old 02-27-2017, 04:16 PM
1,494 posts, read 889,779 times
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Originally Posted by GoodHombre View Post
Have you ever met someone who can't read? to what extent? I'm just curious.
I have never met an native born individual who was completely illiterate and signed with an "X". I have, however, met several native born people who were functionally illiterate to the extent that they were unable to read simple forms or instructions.

Likewise, I have a number of others that while able to more or less read simple instructions on how to use products they were familiar with ( I had to discretely explain some parts of the instructions to them), would not be able to read and then give an explanation of a random newspaper article.
Originally Posted by Rescue3 View Post
The oddest two men I ever met who could not read was a man who owned a large cattle operation and an Air Force captain.
Wow, an illiterate officer.

Two of the men I have met were mid level NCOs, but not officers in a National Guard unit. Like the officer you knew, both were good at compensating, knew their jobs well, and avoided assignment to any new position that would reveal them. They also had the benefit of sympathetic supply NCO who filled out their forms for them.

I would not have even guessed that they could not read had not another soldier told me to notice that the supply NCO casually read to each man what he was signing for while filling out the form for him as a "courtesy". Sure enough, I watched during the next drill and the soldier was write.... er right. Likewise, the First Sergeant would make "friendly conversation" and verbally tell them of range firing times, movements etc.

Last edited by Cryptic; 02-27-2017 at 05:06 PM..
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Old 02-27-2017, 04:23 PM
134 posts, read 70,196 times
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I was an adult literacy tutor. Most young adults with low reading skills (3rd grade level or below) have dyslexia. Many with cognitive disabilities were simply warehoused in SPED and never instructed. The second category learn quickly!
Many older literacy learners never went to school, and had parents who didn't read well either.
I've also met a few who were inadequately home-schooled.
These days, reading intervention is common in elementary school, so hopefully there will be fewer adults with low literacy skills in the future.
Many with low literacy levels are deeply ashamed of it and will go to great lengths to disguise the problem, and for that reason their participation in literacy instruction is confidential.
Strangely enough, many people who don't read well are unaware of it. They don't do things that would cause them to realize.
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