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Adult Illiteracy

Adult Illiteracy
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Author(s): Ann-Marie Trammell (University of Phoenix Online, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 8
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch009

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Abstract

The issue of illiteracy is a serious one, especially for adults. Worldwide, 880 million adults have been labeled as illiterate, and in the United States it is estimated that almost 90 million adults are functionally illiterate—that is to say that they do not have the minimal skills needed to function in society. Children of school age have ready access to programs and remediation to help them acquire literacy skills, and with the advent of federal policies such as No Child Left Behind, more students are being caught before they fall through the cracks and become illiterate for life. Adults, however, do not have this type of access to remediation programs meant to target illiteracy, and in most countries (especially underdeveloped countries), there are no such programs even in the planning stages. These illiterate adults are often forced to hide their inabilities and are cheated out of better jobs, proper health care and benefits, and helping their own children with schooling. Because of these issues and the stigma that illiteracy carries, most adults do not ever admit that they have poor to nonexistent literacy skills. This stigma forms a cycle of poor literacy skills, which becomes hard if not impossible to break. Only through effective literacy programs, which use strategies that work for adult learners, can this problem be solved.

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