The Importance of Literacy: An Ongoing Problem

Addressing a Problem

The majority of newer generations in the United States have the ability to both read and write. This ensures that future generations here may have the same opportunity. However, the same is not true for the literacy rate of previous generations. Twenty-one percent of adults in the U.S. cannot read or write in this current year.  Given the situation, it’s clear that other countries most likely have a much worse literacy rate than we do, even in newer generations. You are most likely lucky enough to have a quality education, especially if you go to Canyon Vista, and it’s not easy to understand what it’s like to be illiterate if this is the case. Illiteracy presents multiple problems, and doesn’t include many easy solutions. It remains an issue that needs to be addressed.


Words make up the world – and there are 3 primary uses for them. Reading, writing, and speaking.  As humans are exposed to talking and speaking straight out of the womb, this can be crossed out. Literacy still needs to be attained, however. To bring the importance of reading and writing to light, what are some privileges that literates have?

For one, you are reading this article right now, right? Chances are, you can understand everything in it. Illiterate people won’t be able to read this, and would either need someone to read this for them or not read it at all.

Another notable advantage is that literate people will most likely get a job. Research proves that the majority of jobs involve reading and writing of some kind. There is a close to minuscule amount of jobs available for illiterate people.

Next, literates generally grow in a different environment. In the U.S, it’s normal to learn to read and write, and the majority of people who can’t were most likely not born here. In other countries, specifically ones with underdeveloped ruling, there isn’t enough of a system to ensure that everyone learns to. This reason also relates to class. People who are poor cannot afford an education, as that is considered a luxury. We are currently living out what some people would call a luxury! That is certainly a privilege.


The ability to read and write is immeasurably crucial to day-to-day goings-on. It affects getting a job, earning a living, and being able to support oneself. If one does not possess it, the quality of their life will deteriorate. Literacy’s importance is not emphasized, however, there are a number of ways how it can affect people.

For example, it is one of the few forms of communication between humans. From texting to emails, instruction manuals, and different languages, it’s nearly impossible to take part in any of these if literacy is not something you have.

Still, you may be skeptical. “Maybe people who don’t read or write can avoid devices!” First of all, the world literally depends on technology, and it’s impossible to avoid it. Second, even in underdeveloped areas without technology, illiteracy is a rampant problem. In these areas, literacy plays a part in things such as reading everyday signs, doing math (reading and writing numbers,) and even more.


Some causes of illiteracy could be behavioral, such as dyslexia. Luckily, proper training can fix this. Other causes of illiteracy are not so easy to resolve.

The main cause is the education of the parents. If a child does not have educated parents, they will most likely not advocate for the child to go to school – thus, they cannot learn. In the same way, some parents do not encourage their children to get an education, or actively help them with their education.

Additionally, if a family has a history of illiteracy, it is likely that this will be difficult to change. In most cases, illiterate families do not have access to education, whether they do not have the money, or they do not have the means.

In some cases, it is social norms that cause illiteracy. In places such as India, or parts of the Middle East and Africa, gender norms prevent women specifically from getting an education. This contributes to their grouping in the “third world countries”. This term states they are far from becoming modern, entertain backwards thinking, and are extremely poor. This shows that the major pattern in illiteracy is poverty.


Since literacy requires education, it harnesses a multitude of possible benefits.

Believe it or not, literacy actually has the potential to lift people out of poverty. As I mentioned before, with literacy comes the guarantee of a job, and with that comes a wage.

Another huge benefit of literacy is gender equality. Inequality is spread through strictly traditional thinking. With literacy comes exposure to the different Earthen ways of thinking, and an introduction to more than just one way of belief.

When people are properly educated, literacy can help them voice opinions and bring light to different situations. In other words, literacy brings awareness.

It is possible that literacy can also advance societies. Since it brings jobs to individuals, it can also grow the economy in this manner.


Illiterate people will not suddenly become literate on their own. In order to convince more people to learn to read and write, it needs to be encouraged by a wide variety of people. The resources they need have to be provided through funding and other means. You can help by signing petitions, or donating materials for education to verified international foundations.