The Importance of Literacy

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The Importance of Literacy

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 hypothetical idea 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, this would get quite frustrating. Rita Mae Brown describes literacy as, "a social contract, an agreed upon representation of certain symbols" (420). If the symbol's (letters) meanings are not agreed upon by those attempting to communicate, then interpreting one another 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 expressed in terms of employment opportunities (job success) or just on a social level.

One need look no further than their everyday activities in order to realize how important literary skills are. Without adequate literary skills one may not be able to identify on a label the correct amount of medicine to give a child, or read and interpret a sign giving instructions on what to do in case of a fire. These two examples bring perspective to literacy's importance. Nevertheless, recent surveys have indicated that, "4.5 million Canadians, representing 24 percent of the eighteen-and-over group, can be considered illiterate" ("Adult Illiteracy" 5). Illiteracy is truly a problem within Canada. Although many groups are working to render the problem of illiteracy, much work still lies ahead.

As our society moves on into the next century literacy is proving vital to economic performance. Without basic literary skills in one's possession they will become lost in our rapidly changing society. The modern worker...
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