Functional Illiteracy

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What is Illiteracy? An adult or adults with a reading incapacity, a lack of knowledge of a subject, and/or a error in speech or writing according to Encarta World English Dictionary is a person or persons with illiteracy. Ronald Nash the author of an on-line article entitled "The Three Kinds of Illiteracy" he describes the three different types of illiteracy. Nash explains in detail cultural, moral, and functional illiteracy in his article. Cultural illiteracy defined by E.D. Hirsch Jr. is to possess the basic information needed to thrive in the modern world (Nash). Moral illiteracy is not being taught or lacked the education and understandings in religious or spiritual beliefs (Nash). Functional illiteracy refers to the inability of an individual to use reading, speaking, writing, and computational skills in everyday life (Literacy Center for the Midlands). Functional illiteracy is probably the most familiar and known to the public out of the three. Functional illiteracy is measured on a scale of five levels. Level one is an adult or adults who can read a little, but not well enough to fill out an application, read a food label, or a simple story to a child (NIFL: National Institute for Literacy- Frequently Asked Questions). Level two adult or adults can perform more complex tasks such as comparing and contrasting a situation (NIFL: National Institute for Literacy- Frequently Asked Questions). Level three to level five adult or adults usually perform the same types of more complex tasks on increasingly lengthy and dense texts and documents (NIFL: National Institute for Literacy- Frequently Asked Questions). According to the A Untied Way Agency web page posts on-line article entitled The Scope of Illiteracy in this Country, 23% of adults who were surveyed by the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS), were at level one illiteracy. 25%- 28% of the adults surveyed were at the second lowest level, that is level two (The Scope of Illiteracy in this Country).

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