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The Problem of Illiteracy in the United States The United States government is not doing enough to make sure everyone can read ED Hirsch Jr states in his widely read book Cultural Literacy AThe standard of literacy required by modern society has been rising throughout the developed world but the American literacy rates have not risen to meet this standard ED Hirsch Jr 1 Illiteracy is a big problem in the United States More than 4 of the adult population in the United States cannot read That is about eight million people over the age of 16 National Center for 1 Illiteracy leads to unemployment and sometimes even homelessness More than 40 of the Americans who are illiterate live in poverty The Washington Literacy 1 When people think of illiteracy they usually think only of people who can neither read nor write However there are two other types of illiteracy functional illiteracy and marginal illiteracy The Department of Education defines a functional illiterate person as someone Awho can read between the fourth and eighth grade level is able to perform routine uncomplicated tasks but lacks the basic skills needed to cope well in societyAPL 1 This means that most functionally illiterate people cannot read a daily newspaper or a classic book with much comprehension A marginally illiterate person is defined as someone Awho can read between the eighth and twelfth grade level but lacks the twelfth grade equivalence needed in a complex and technological society APL 1 In addition to Americans that are completely illiterate 45 million more are considered functionally or marginally illiterate AIlliteracy 1 This inability to read is a big problem and prevents many of these Americans from getting good jobs or at least better jobs than they otherwise would have
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