Compared to other “alphabetic languages,” learning to read fluently in English is a very serious problem. Statistics show that presently less than one percent of U.S. adults who have left school will ever get the training they need to become fluent readers. Part of the problem is that functional illiterates do not want to admit that they cannot read very well. Two other problems are that (1) they must spend most of their time making a living (often with more than one job) and caring for their families, and (2) the location and time of the reading classes are so inconvenient that most of those who enroll drop out before learning to read well enough to be functionally literate.
Unless the method of learning to read is made much simpler and quicker, the problems and suffering of functional illiterates will continue and their numbers will increase. Merely tweaking the teaching methods as we have been doing for almost a century will demonstrably NOT solve the problem. Only a revolutionary change, involving “thinking outside the box,” will succeed in ending English functional illiteracy. Only after English-speaking people understand the scope of the problem and the solution, can they be expected to honestly evaluate the proposed solution for our very real literacy crisis.