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National Editorials & Columns

Today’s world demands more literacy than ever before

Today’s world demands more literacy than ever before and in various ways such as in propaganda devices, consumer information, etc.  Yet, sadly we rush away from literacy opportunities.

Consider for a few minutes. What would the ramifications be if you weren’t literate in reading loan applications, income tax forms, classified ads, employment applications, bills, charge account forms, rental agreements, change of address forms, pay stubs, directions, nutritional information, cautions, medicine labels, warranties, guarantees, registration information, laws, penalties, notices, announcements, and others that are a part of our everyday life?

Functional literacy is essential for our well-being while overall literacy develops our intellect and provides hours of enjoyment. Doris Graham lists the traits of a healthy family as: daily communication; mutual support and respect; playing together; sharing responsibilities; interacting; sharing a faith base; serving others; table time eating and conversing.

She also advocates that this environment creates a self-actualized person. That means we accept our self and others as we are; we react spontaneously; we deal with our problems, rather than expecting others to deal with them. 

We also take time for privacy and intense thinking; we grow to be capable, independent, and remain true to our self. Interestingly, she says that when we are self-actualized we continue to be in awe of the basic goods of life, rather than the things we don’t have.

We enjoy awe inspiring experiences; we are concerned with the welfare of the world; we are close to family and a few friends.  As self-actualized people we see individuals, not groups and we develop a strong sense of ethics and morals. 

Even our humor is gentler and not hostile.

A self-actualized person has a greater capacity for creativity and resists total conformity to culture. A self-actualized person is not perfect, but I learned from my grandparents that a self-actualized person is happier, relates better to others, adds to their community and makes a difference in the world.

Literacy keeps us from isolation and boredom.

Maslow proclaims that concepts are a growth in decision making.  Life puts limits on gratification. Home is where we feel safe, yet learn responsibilities.

It is here where we learn from our mistakes. Home, not school teaches us that writing has meaning and that what we say is worth writing down.

Our first experimental writing is praised and is a rough draft for later writing. 

Though it is no longer necessary to learn perfect penmanship, we do need to learn to write. Writing is part of literacy; it is putting into written form our ideas and thoughts and allows us a chance to review them.

I will no longer be writing this column as of Dec. 27, so I urge you to share with me if there is something you want me to discuss before then.

When reading materials are available children learn to touch, hold, and read; thus, literacy becomes an important part of her life. Talking to children not at them boosts IQ.

Books and articles are great conversation pieces. Discussion incites our memory, nourishes our ideas and leads to answers to questions we wouldn’t form if we weren’t discussing.

Five lifelong reasons for reading are:

• to gain needed information;

• to learn how to do something;

• to discover other places in the world;

• to realize there are people like me and different from me; and

• to enjoy a good read.

Study reading includes seeking information for your job, a presentation, a project, a class, or just because you want to learn and remember the information. It requires you to question as you read and to concentrate.

Tools of remembering such as notes and outlining shouldn’t stop once we finish our formal education. Study reading requires you to read, stop, check if you understand, and review at times.

Pleasure reading is often more leisurely. You read, think about the story or character, reread parts, and often tell someone else the story.

Questioning derives from what we know and includes self-disciplining, Questioning is part of critical thinking skills and essential in developing literacy.

Questioning means that we quiet our mind to become involved in the speech, the article, or the book. As I read I interact with the author and question why they said that or had the character act that way. 

Learning to question both verbally and inwardly causes us to examine the material more closely and think it through. By seeking answers we invite the material to speak to us and it also allows those nudges that help us discern if something is reasonable or not. 

Questioning requires us to utilize various filters to come to reason. Yes, it does open our self to risk because when we open our mind, we may change our opinion.

Questioning nourishes reasoning and our subconscious will continue to dwell on it when things don’t go together.

Discussions are an often forgotten literacy jewels. When we discuss we not only expand our knowledge, but we check for prejudicial statements.

This alone for me is important in literacy as it checks how I am prejudice and how others are prejudice. Discussion at its best is interacting with others and sharing knowledge.

Communication is risky, but lack of communication is dangerous to relationships and to society. How can we develop opinions if we don’t discuss and fine tune our ideas?

Enjoy discussions about what you read and encourage others to do so.

Until next week — Christine Pauley

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