Illiteracy Might Surprise You

Illiteracy Might Surprise You

torn bookOnly 13% of adults can read and compare two essays. What does that mean for editing? Who are we serving? Today, in my How To column at Copyediting.com, I look at the definitions and prevalence of illiteracy.Link to my columns on Copyediting.com

Illiteracy and functional illiteracy were defined by UNESCO in 1978:

A person is illiterate who cannot with understanding both read and write a short simple statement on [their] everyday life.

A person is functionally illiterate who cannot engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning of [their] group and community and also for enabling [them] to continue to use reading, writing and calculation for [their] own and the community’s development.

Yes, it is ironic that the language UNESCO used to write about illiteracy is accessible to only the very most literate people; and those people probably cringe from the effort of reading it nonetheless.

sources: https://www.fondationalphabetisation.org/en/causes-of-illiteracy/mistaken-beliefs/

https://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/provincial/education/adlt-lowlit.aspx

http://nces.ed.gov/NAAL/datafiles.asp

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