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When people think of a handicap or disability the last thing they are thinking about is Illiteracy. It has become a huge problem in our country that has developed over many decades and effects every age, race, ethnic group, income levels, and educational level. Those who can not read and write may not realize how harmful illiteracy could be to both themselves as well as others. Some will not be able to read the instructions on a prescription bottle, warning signs on the road or even a bedtime story to their own children. There are many reasons for illiteracy including the lack of education, a failure in the education system or even from the child’s own parents. How do these people make it through life and even graduate from high school but still do not know how to read and write?

Many people suggest the fault lies with an inadequate educational system. Due to many of the schools being over crowded, there are not enough teachers to go around and the student body does not get the specific attention it needs to learn properly. Sometimes the teachers are the ones who lack the education needed to instruct. Many do not even realize when there is a reading or learning issue with a student. There could actually be a serious learning disability such as Dyslexia or other difficulty that may be effecting the child’s ability to learn. Many of the educators just look the other way as not to be burdened with the problems.

The educational system must keep a certain number of children in schools at all costs. Sometimes the system is not concerned with the performance of the students as long as they are in school. If teachers graded the way they should, the failure rates would be much higher than they are today.

Some of these students are star athletes and recreation becomes the primary factor in their lives. It has been set into their minds when they were young by their parents and piers. Early in their lives the child is taught the importance of being the best and nothing else matters. The school system now comes to realize how important this athlete has become to the school team and grades are given to keep the student on the team, and problems are just pushed aside. Sometimes other students will do the work or even take the tests for these athletes so they can concentrate on what is important…to them…sports.

Many people will say the fault lies with the parents. There are many children who grow up in today’s society with both parents who work and therefore are never home. The parents may go off to work early in the morning and return late at night. The parents do not take the time to help their child with their studies and when they do they don’t take the time to realize there may be a problem. They ignore any learning difficulty signs the child might experience hoping the school will catch and fix the problem. Sometimes a parent blames the learning issue on the school saying the education system is failing, not the child.

Illiteracy can even result from the home environment while the child was growing up. There may not have been any educational resources available to the child. The parents may just not have taken the time while the children were young to make sure they knew how to read, again relying on the school to do the parents job.

Illiteracy is increasing at an alarming rate. Poverty, never starting school, high school drop-outs, inadequate education, and many other reasons contribute to people not being able to read and write, but as time goes on society, educators, and parents are turning their heads at a severe problem that needs to be addressed. What happens once these illiterate people go into the world? Only society will tell.

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