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Illiterate Parents

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I recently saw a statistic that startled me. We pay a lot of attention to statistics related to children’s ability to read. However, it’s not often that we pay as much attention to adult illiteracy, although we know it exists. The startling statistic stated that one out of every five adult residents, in a particular mid-western city, has difficulty reading or can’t read at all.

Of course, we know if students leave school unable to read, unless they seek further assistance, chances are they will become illiterate adults. However, it’s not every day that you hear discussions on the impact this may have on their children and how they’ll help them navigate through school. In order for children to become good readers, it’s important that we not ignore parents who are unable to read.

Many adults get their news and information from the television or radio. Since they may be very knowledgeable in many areas, most of their friends, family members and coworkers may never know if they can read. However, when they need to read to their children or assist with homework, this causes problems and can be embarrassing. If you know an adult who is unable to read, or if you are an adult who is unable to read, there are many things that you can do in order to increase your skills and assist your child.

  • First, you can seek the assistance of the teacher. Allow your child to attend tutorial sessions, especially for reading.

  • Next, as your child learns to read, encourage him to read to you. Reading aloud helps the reader as well as the listener.

  • Contact one of the many adult literacy agencies located in most cities. Learning to read, even as an adult, isn’t as difficult as you might think.

  • Finally, remember that most illiterate adults have some reading skills, just not at a literate level. Read material on your current level and increase the level as your ability increases. The more you read, the better you will become.

When adults overcome illiteracy, the ability to read will open new doors and expand their opportunities. It can also increase the academic interaction between parent and child, which will benefit both.


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