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THOUGHTS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF READING $100.00
Authors:  Charles R. Waggoner
Abstract:
Not being able to ―read‖, however one defines it, may prove to have disastrous consequences for the individual in the coming decade. In the recent film The Reader, based on the novel of the same title, the character Hanna Schmitz loses her job as a tram conductor in Nazi Germany because she is illiterate and subsequently becomes a SS guard at Auschwitz. While both the book and the movie are complex at several levels, one cannot help but wonder if Hanna Schmitz, who seems to possess some good qualities, would not have ended up in prison as a war criminal had she been able to read and write.
It is indisputable that many individuals in the United States are relegated to a less productive life due to reading difficulties, even to the point of incarceration. U.S. prisons and jails are filled with folk with reading problems. My sister-in-law is one of many employed by a community college that works with prison inmates on their reading skills with the goal of earning a GED. The Literacy Statistics website ―estimates that 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate and that 60 percent of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate. Furthermore, penal institutional records show that inmates have a 16% chance of returning to prison if they receive literacy help, as opposed to 70% for those who receive no help. How did we become a nation of far too many illiterates with illiteracy often being a contributing factor to doing jail and prison time, when there is so much of an emphasis placed upon learning to read in our society? Reading has been one of the so-called ―three Rs in our educational culture seemingly from the inception of schooling. 


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THOUGHTS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF READING