End Illiteracy in English

The problem of English functional illiteracy is a very real nightmare, but the solution is easier than you would ever dare to dream.

Debunking All Reasonable Objections to Spelling Reform, Part 1

This is part one of a five-part series. This blog is presented in an attempt to promote our humanitarian project which is a proven way of ending functional illiteracy.

For several reasons English illiteracy is very much a hidden problem. As a result, very few people except the closest friends of some of the illiterates know the serious effects of illiteracy.

The most statistically accurate and thorough study of U.S. illiteracy ever commissioned by the U.S. government proves that 48.7% of U.S. adults are functionally illiterate (defined as reading and writing so poorly that they cannot hold an above-poverty-level-wage job), proves that 31.2% of functional illiterates are in poverty, and proves that functional illiterates are more than twice as likely to be in poverty because of their illiteracy as for all other reasons combined.

People may have developed some misconceptions if they have not carefully researched the effects of English spelling upon illiteracy. Certain items, upon brief examination, may seem disadvantages of spelling reform, although they are not. The supposed disadvantage also may be counterbalanced (or even overbalanced) by a corresponding advantage.

Will Existing Writings Become Inaccessible?

This is perhaps people’s most serious objection to spelling reform. Conventional wisdom states that if a completely different spelling system is adopted, all the existing material in English will become inaccessible. However, learning a new language will not make us unable to understand our first language. Learning a new way of spelling will not erase all memory of traditional English spelling. Nor would the printing of new books suddenly cause all the existing books to self-destruct.

The truth is this: all the existing books in English are ALREADY inaccessible — to illiterates! After NuEnglish is implemented, everyone except the most severely mentally handicapped will read. People who now read English will keep their books written in English and read either English or NuEnglish. Libraries will keep their books in English. All others will read only NuEnglish, unless they choose also to learn English, similar to English literature scholars who must learn Middle English to read Chaucer and other writers of his era. Lawyers, English scholars, historians, and all those whose vocation or hobby requires extensive research through written material of the past — if it is not of sufficient interest to make reprinting in NuEnglish economically feasible — would learn English spelling as a college (or possibly high school) elective course.

All the books that are so important that they have a readership large enough to make reprinting economically feasible for the publishers will be reissued in NuEnglish. Competition among printers for their share of the market suddenly swollen with millions of previous non-readers will ensure such an event. In the same way that we recently saw “Now in HDTV!” preceding certain television programs, we will soon see advertisements by bookstores declaring, “Now in NuEnglish!”

Many libraries have few books that are fifty years old or more. Many libraries sell outdated and least used books to make room for new ones. Often the books they sell are only one or two years old. The average age of books in a bookstore is much less than that of books in a library. Few books in a bookstore are so eagerly sought that they will be reprinted for more than a year or two. Our website on Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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The Ultimate Account (?) of America’s Education Dilemma

For the purpose of search engine optimization, this important blog will only appear on one of our five blogs. To see this vital blog click here.

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Has TV News Programs Made You Shockproof?

Many of us see so many “crises” on TV in today’s world that we almost become shockproof, but I never get over being shocked when I look at the analysis of statistics from the most comprehensive and statistically accurate study of U.S. adult literacy ever commissioned by the U.S. government and the 2006 verifying report. English functional illiteracy (defined as being unable to read and write well enough to hold and above-poverty-level-wage job) is far worse than most people — even including our leading educators and politicians — realize; it is worse than our worst nightmares. The proven solution to ending illiteracy, however, is easier than you would ever dare to dream. The details of the solution are found in the breakthrough book, Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis, Revised Edition, describing a revolutionary way of learning to read, by Bob Cleckler, Founding Chairman of Literacy Research Associates, Inc., a non-profit educational corporation. Cleckler has been researching and writing about ending illiteracy since 1985.

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Challenge: I Bet You Don’t Know How Few American Adults Can Read Well

If you have not carefully analyzed the most accurate and complete study of U.S. adult literacy ever commissioned by the U.S. government, you DO NOT know the seriousness of this well-hidden problem.

The media have not accurately reported on this study. There are several possible reasons. Reporters are in a hurry to get their report out before another news media reports it, so they only read the Executive Summary. Or they read the report of the study, but the study does not carefully detail the meaning of some of the data that are contained in the report of the study. Or they do not want to upset the educational and political leaders by highlighting the very serious nature of the problem.

Whatever the reason, the shocking facts reported in the 1993 Adult Literacy in America study report (see http://nces.ed.gov/pubs93/93275.pdf) have been largely ignored. This is true even though the results of this report were confirmed by a report issued in 2006 (see http://nces.ed.gov/NAAL/PDF/2006470.PDF). The Adult Literacy in America study was a five-year, $14 million study involving extensive interviews of 26,049 U.S. adults statistically chosen by age, gender, ethnicity, and location (urban, suburban, and rural locations in twelve states across the U.S. and including 1100 prisoners from 80 prisons) to represent the entire U.S. population. The 2006 report was prepared by the same group as the 1993 report, but it used a database of 19,714 interviewees.

The Adult Literacy in America study gave the interviewees written material to read and then tested how they responded to what they had read. They divided the interviewees into five groups, depending upon how well they responded. The two least literate groups totaled 48.7% of the interviewees. The average annual earnings of these two groups were well below the threshold poverty level earnings for an individual in 1993 according to the U.S. Census Bureau!

There are several methods used to determine functional literacy in English. By far the most accurate method of determining functional literacy is the wages that employers are willing to pay to employ workers who can read and write well enough to be a profitable employee. Employers have a strong financial incentive to determine accurately how well their prospective employee can read and write. No other method of determining literacy has such a strong incentive for accuracy. In fact, researchers may very well have reasons for wanting their literacy determinations to show certain results.

Almost all American adults can read a thousand or more simple words they learned in the first three grades in school. A careful analysis of the data in the Adult Literacy in America study, however, proves conclusively—as shocking and as unbelievable as it may be—that 48.7% of U.S. adults are functionally illiterate. It also proves that 31.2% of these functional illiterates are in poverty and that they are more than twice as likely to be in poverty because of their illiteracy as for all other reasons combined.

After many years of research, Literacy Research Associates, Inc. and NuEnglish, Inc. (two non-profit educational corporations) have perfected a proven, easy-to-implement solution to the very serious problem of English functional illiteracy. Our nine websites explain the seriousness and the solution to the problem of illiteracy. Our “home” websites are http://NuEnglish.org and http://EveryoneCanReadNow.com. Our http://LearnToReadNow.com website gives the best introduction to our humanitarian project of ending our very real literacy crisis. No website, however, can give the understandable, progressive, and complete revelation of all the facts that may be needed to spur readers to action that is almost certain after a careful reading of our breakthrough book, Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis, Revised Edition available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1589824970. If more than 500 million English-speaking people around the world who are functionally illiterate in English (including more than 93 million in the U.S. alone) knew the choice facing you at this moment, they would urge you to get this book and carefully read it.

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Past History Demands Present Action

Absolutely nothing done in the last ninety years has made a statistically significant improvement in the shockingly high percentage of U.S. students who leave school unable to read English well enough to be functionally literate. The second revision of Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis, to be published in January 2012 by American University & Colleges Press, presents the solution to this problem. The method proposed in the book for solving our literacy crisis has been recommended by numerous educational and linguistic experts for more than 250 years, and thirty-three nations both smaller and larger than the U.S. and both advanced and developing nations have made the type of change the book proposes — but it has never been tried in English. Furthermore, all major objections to what it proposes have been conclusively debunked by several very competent scholars, such as Thomas R. Lounsbury, LL.D, L.H.D., emeritus professor of English, Yale University, in his book, Spelling and Spelling Reform, published in 1909! As a means of avoiding change, however, skeptics keep repeating the same disproven arguments. As our culture has become more complex, the problem of functional illiteracy has now reached crisis proportions, and it is long past time to make the revolutionary changes this book proposes. To see an introduction to the humanitarian project proposed in this exciting, breakthrough book, click on this website: http://LearnToReadNow.org.

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