...the ability to read and write so that you can earn and maintain gainful employment

Did You Know..

According to UNESCO,

Less than one-half of all adults are literate in the following ten countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

"But,"  you say – "those are third-world countries, and what does that have to do with me?"

According to the World Literacy Foundation, over 120 million children who do not have the opportunity to go to school.  Without the opportunity to access formal education a large number of these children will face a bleak future.

Reading  - a privilege and a right

Privilege.  You can still consider that fact as something that has nothing at all to do with you, or you can look at the ability to read and write as a privilege. 

Make the most of what you have, of the opportunities you have in your own community, and learn as much as you can because you can.

Learning to read and write

You are illiterate if your abilities in reading and writing prevent you from gaining meaningful employment.  You may be unable to read and write, or you may be able to read a few words and write a few words.  But still, you cannot hold a job because you cannot read and write well enough.

  • The inability to read and write on the job can be an extreme safety hazard.
  • Meaningful employment is necessary if one is going to support oneself and make a decent living.


Reading is necessary for safety.

Consider a sign warning you of danger. 

  • If you can’t read it, you are oblivious to the danger, and you can become seriously injured.
  • If you can't read it, you could endanger others.

Consider a manual of procedures. 

  • If you cannot read and understand the instructions and guidelines, you can put yourself into harm’s way. 
  • If you cannot read and understand the instructions, you can put others into harm's way.

If you wish to be able to accomplish a specific task – whether at home or for your job – you need to be able to follow those instructions and learn and improve. 

  • Your employer is likely to leave you alone to accomplish something. 
  • It would be a time-waster and money-waster to have someone watching over you all day. 
  • You do need to become independent – and that requires reading.
  • You need to be able to survive in a safe and comfortable environment.

Writing.  Writing goes along with reading.  

You need to be able to

  • pass along instructions to another employee 
  • provide updates for your employer 
  • pass along messages
  • take notes

The ability to function well applies not only to writing English but also to mathematics.

An ability with numbers.  The term also applies to one’s ability with arithmetic and mathematics. 

You say you don’t need math?

Consider the construction site.

  • On a construction site, for example, one must measure and calculate before being able to work with specific lengths of wood, for example. 
  • On a construction site, one must be able to work with the figures and calculations that are necessary on a construction site.

Construction sites may be able to hire on employees who may have only basic skills, but  who are willing to work hard and learn. 

  • Generally young men and women can learn “on the job” so to speak and can learn from the others. 
  • Still, the basics of reading, writing, and calculating are essential in a job like construction.

Literacy is an essential skill. 

  • You need an education in reading and writing to be able to read and write
  • You need an education and practical skills in mathematics to be able to progress in any employment situation.

Many basic jobs require literacy – a good ability in reading and writing and also a good ability with figures.

  • You need to be functionally literate in making change for your customer if you are a cashier.
  • You need to be functionally literate if you are taking inventory at your place of employment,
  • You need to be able to record accurately what you learn through the inventory taking.

So, get started.  Learn your English language.  Learn to read and write.  And don’t be afraid of mathematics because your success depends on your literacy!

Focus on success.

LINK - Return from Literacy to Professional Business Writing