Saddest part of illiteracy that it exists

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 8, 1999

Many of us may find it difficult to believe, but illiteracy is everywhere in Adams County. Those of us who can read often take for granted what we consider the simplest of acts – reading the written word.

Today is International Literacy Day. And as we prepare to head into the year 2000, it’s unfortunate, but the social chasm that separates illiterate people from the reading society is deep and wide.

Often fear of having to admit you need help is the one thing holding many back from seeking out help.

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Hundreds of area residents function daily in constant fear that someone will discover they are unable to read.

Imagine it for a moment.

The only thing that comes close to the same feeling is if you were to travel to a foreign land and did not know the language.

Simple things like going to the grocery store become a study in frustration.

We suspect that somewhere in Adams County tonight, a mother will make up excuses to keep from having to read a book to her child because she finds reading such a frustrating endeavor. It’s enough to bring tears to one’s eyes.

It isn’t necessarily their fault either. Many folks from the older generation had to leave school early to help support their own families. And only now in our world filled with written words traveling the Internet at the speed of light does the tragedy in that become so apparent.

What many illiterate people don’t realize is their fears are needless. There is no shame in admitting you need help in learning how to read. But we as a community should be ashamed that we don’t look harder to find those who need a little help and encourage them to enter an adult literacy class.