Illiteracy has nothing to do with lack of intelligence

The life of illiterates is often a single excuse. They make up all sorts of things so that their “problem” doesn’t get noticed. It is still a misconception in Germany that compulsory schooling for ten years protects against illiteracy. Marianne K. (32) had never read a book, and ignored the instructions for use and package inserts. When she needed to fill out a form at a government agency, she would ask the clerks to help her because she was missing her  glasses “have forgotten. She never went on vacation alone and didn’t know any street names other than the neighborhood where she lived. Marianne couldn’t write much more than her name. She was able to decipher and copy individual letters or even very short words. In her job as a cleaning lady, this was not initially noticed. Marianne K. is not an isolated case. Over four million people in Germany cannot read and write properly. This is appreciated by the Federal Association for Literacy and Basic Education. They all went to school, but their reading and spelling problems were either ignored, not treated properly, or those affected cleverly concealed them.

What is illiteracy?

Those who have never learned to read and write, for example because they never went to school – like many children in developing countries – fall under the category of  primary illiteracy .

Secondary illiteracy  includes people who went to  school and have forgotten how to read and write.

Functional illiteracy finally, the inability to use Scripture in everyday life in a way that is taken for granted. Functional illiterates are people like Marianne, who can recognize letters and write their names and a few words, but who either do not understand the meaning of a text at all or do not understand it easily enough. For Peter Hubertus from the Bundesverband Alphabetisierung eV, illiteracy is a relative term: “Whether a person is considered illiterate does not only depend on their individual reading and writing skills. In addition, the degree of written language mastery within the specific society in which this person lives, is expected.

People in industrialized countries with high written language requirements must therefore also be regarded as functionally illiterate if they have limited reading and writing skills.

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