5 Solutions to Illiteracy


Illiteracy is a problem that strikes every community at some people. Even in highly educated countries, there are individuals that slip through the cracks and are unable to read in a meaningful way. These potential solutions to illiteracy can help to make sure those cracks get sealed up for good.

1. Invest into basic training that is provided by employers.

In 2003, 54% of adults in Quebec were considered to have a very low reading proficiency, but 7 out of 10 people in this category were employed. By investing into basic training that occurs within the workplace environment, employers are able to create competitive and productive employees. The workers are then able to receive the literacy skills that they will use all their lives.

2. Create supports within schools.

Early recognition of learning difficulties or disabilities can help teachers and administrators assist children who may struggle with literacy. Children are often able to “fake it to make it” without becoming overly literate if these difficulties are not addressed. By creating school supports, we can help children who may be illiterate become literate adults one day.

3. Encourage outreach efforts into disadvantaged communities.

Not every community has the resources it needs to identify those households who are at a high risk of illiteracy. By creating public and private outreach efforts to go into these communities and identify high-risk households, people can be connected to the literacy services they may need to be able to find a path out of their disadvantage situation.

4. Improve access to education.

Instead of funneling money toward voucher systems and private-pay subsidies, improving total access to education can have a dramatic effect on illiteracy. From after-school programs to after-work programs and everything in-between, by removing barriers to education (which may include cost), more people can develop the skills they need.

5. Make it an obligation to receive incentives or supports.

Many companies receive subsidies, contracts, or other forms of support from local, state, and national governments. By mandating that a certain number of people within the workforce be enrolled in literacy support programs, we can continue to improve literacy rates.

Illiteracy should not exist today, but it still does because of cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic circumstances. Our solutions must respect our traditions, but eliminate the discriminatory effects that they cause. When we can do this, then we will have meaningful solutions to illiteracy that can be implemented.