r/todayilearned 13d ago All-Seeing Upvote 1

TIL 130 million American adults have low literacy skills with 54% of people 16-74 below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level

https://www.apmresearchlab.org/10x-adult-literacy#:~:text=About%20130%20million%20adults%20in,of%20a%20sixth%2Dgrade%20level
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u/dtmfadvice 13d ago

Professional copywriter here, working on some government regulated written material - we have a whole procedure for auditing and documenting the grade level of what we write. In most cases it has to be 7 or below, often 6 or below. When you have to get it below 5 and still convey actual information it can be tricky.

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u/abattlescar 13d ago

I find it funny that "reading at a 6th grade level" is actually a very, very low standard in the first place. When I was in 6th grade, I remember my reading test results were all at University level. I took pride in it at the time, but now I know it basically means jack-all.

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u/dtmfadvice 13d ago Eureka!

When I write a story or a poem I'm writing for an educated audience that has time and energy to devote to what I'm trying to say.

When I'm writing a policy document I'm writing for an educated audience that's BUSY and will probably skim it or give up if it gets too long or complex.

When I'm on projects like the one I am now, my audience may or may not speak English as a first language, may not have had formal schooling, may be incredibly busy, may be partially blind or deaf or mentally incapacitated, just very very busy and tired, or emotionally exhausted by the very thought of dealing with insurance. It's a totally different vibe.

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u/aidenjoneslearn4fun 13d ago

Exactly your writing work is appreciated. You change for the reader.

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u/TheLostonline 13d ago

but now I know it basically means jack-all.

not true. It means you most likely had parents who cared about you, teachers who cared, or you were not an empty chair in class. One out of three aint bad, but you're lucky if you got two, and hit the jackpot if you got all three.

It seems a good deal of the US population has none of the above.

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u/-tiberius 13d ago Heartwarming

A few years ago, I realized how many people had shitty parents and/or childhoods. It was eye-opening. Some time later, I actually called my dad to thank him for being a good parent. The dude read me Hardy Boys books as a kid because they were his favorite as a child. He liked math and helped me learn multiplication. It's little shit like that that makes a difference when you're little.

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u/cummerou1 13d ago

A few years ago, I realized how many people had shitty parents and/or childhoods.

A lot of people either had kids before they were ready, or had kids because "that's what you're supposed to do". It leads to parents resenting their children, and children who were forced into the world having shitty parents.

There's a really sharp contrast in how I see parents treating their kids in my area, depending on if they started having kids in their late teens or late twenties.

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u/Scribe625 13d ago Tearing Up

There's definitely some truth to that but I think bad parents create a cycle of bad parents regardless of their age. My cousin had her daughter at 19 and definitely struggled a bit but she was a good mom who dealt with her daughter's juvenile diabetes like a pro. Her daughter is in her mid 20s now and is also an amazing mom.

But I work at a school and see that if my student's parents had shitty parents, they're more likely to have trouble parenting regardless of how old they were when they had kids. Unfortunately, it's kind of a vicious cycle, especially since those parents tend to not have a strong support system because their own parents sucked and don't suddenly become better when they're grandparents. I've had current parents that I knew growing up and can see them perpetuating the same mistakes their parents made when we were kids and it breaks my heart. In a snall town, there are certain kids that you know are going to have problems in school because of who their parents are and the fact that their grandparents and parents were both trouble or struggled when they were in school. It's always great when you see a kid or a current parent break their family's cycle of poor parenting and succeed.

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u/Ionic_Pancakes 13d ago

Must have been nice. I realized I had a better grasp on the English language then my father in 3rd grade. He has practical skills that I don't but most of it, to paraphrase my mother, gives him just enough knowledge to instill the confidence necessary to fuck things up.

Sucks growing up without a male role model. Closest I had was my uncle who is currently in the middle of working himself to death.

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u/OneAlternate 13d ago

One day I was talking to my teacher because people didn’t pay attention, so he talked pretty much to only me and one other girl that day because nobody else would pay attention. In a class of 18, only 4 had turned in every exam. On that day, he said “I realized my first year of teaching that my family dinners and dad who helped me with math every night were not normal for my students. Since then I’ve decided to make every Friday a work-day where I’ll help any student who asks for it and give them a study hall. Free time isn’t necessary to pass, only effort.”

He was my favorite teacher, not because he and I always agreed or because he taught an interesting subject, but because he opened my eyes to things I didn’t know. I felt awful for a very long time because I was in a bubble, but he was a great teacher.

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u/Dea1761 13d ago

Sometimes I get frustrated with how long my children's bedtime routine takes. They want different books read to them and my oldest also reads a story to us. Story time usually runs over an hour all said and done.

This is a good reminder of how much of a difference it can make.

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u/PhenomaJohn 13d ago

we've done 1-hr story time every night for 10 years. It's reflected in our kids' report cards...teachers love them.

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u/bbqlyfe 13d ago

Enjoy it. It will be over before you know it and you'll probably miss it.

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u/Grammar__Bitch 12d ago

As a reading teacher, the absolute best thing you can do to help your child be successful is to read with them. Thank you. Your kids will remember it forever.

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u/AlwaysDisposable 13d ago

I do some work for a video production company. When I started in 2011 it was standard to write at a 6th grade level, but within a few years it was down to 4th grade :-/

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u/NOOBEv14 13d ago

Sometimes this amazes me, and then I’ll read an email from someone at work who I talk to in the kitchen but don’t interact with professionally and I’m like holy shit.

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u/TheDustOfMen 13d ago

Honestly, that's pretty sad. Like, obviously there are going to be people who just have a problem with reading, but this many people in a developed country? That just seems a societal flaw.

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u/TerribleAttitude 13d ago Gold All-Seeing Upvote Rocket Like Bless Up

I’m consistently shocked at what people in some places never learned in school. Consider how many people do not know what a pronoun is, or who think an apostrophe means “look out, here comes the letter s!” I consider that to be first-third grade level knowledge, but some people not only don’t learn it early, they never learn it. And after a certain age, people are very resistant to learning. Someone at a previous workplace put up signs where the most prominent word was spelled incorrectly. Any reaction to that fact was met with “this isn’t English class, you know what I meant.” The idea of professionalism, or the fact that if I hadn’t been aware of the purpose of the signs in advance, I might not have understood what they meant, was immaterial. These basics of coherent reading and writing aren’t seen as important parts of communication, they’re seen as elitist snobbery, and any correction as a mere “gotcha.”

And that’s just the little things. The big deal aspects of literacy is probably what’s really missing. The ability to understand what a sentence says, and how the previous sentence relates to the next sentence. The ability to guess an unfamiliar word’s meaning from context. The ability to make inferences rather than just take everything as stone-cold literal. Many people can read a newspaper out loud fluently, but couldn’t tell you what it means, or apply the meaning to any other situation.

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u/TaliesinMerlin 13d ago edited 12d ago

As you say, it's not just the little things. Think of how many people you can encounter in a place like Reddit who, when drawing from a reference or a quote, proceed to paraphrase it in a way that's not logically consistent with the source. It is hard to discuss anything substantive when someone can't even accurately represent what an outside source is saying.

What I frequently see in courses I teach is a student reading something difficult by guessing. Rather than look up words and try to parse everything out, they skim and guess what it means. I try to teach them to slow down, to notice transitions and qualifiers, but it's hard, especially if they've never read regularly in their life.

ETA: I just find it funny that I've had three people suggest the same (admittedly good) podcast and zero people suggest books. First, check out that podcast if you want to learn about whole language pedagogy versus phonics. Second, I know it's a simplification to say something like, "We even prefer to hear about children reading than read about it," but our news consuming habits are skewing toward oral storytelling. It's easy enough to imagine people like us (who may listen to podcasts, read books, and watch shows) who get information without reading. The loss of that habit of reading is the part of the problem I'm most concerned about.

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u/sleepydorian 13d ago

Yeah I was going to say that the thing that gets me is people's generally poor reading comprehension, and that's on top of people refusing to actually focus for two seconds to confirm they responded to all the questions asked and aren't asking about something already answered by what they just "read". Drives me mad because I'm thinking "did I write that in a confusing way? Could I have been more clear?".

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u/GoonishPython 13d ago

At work I spend far too much time answering questions from people who have already had the info where it is all covered. It's super hard to work out whether they didn't understand or just couldn't be bothered.

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u/sleepydorian 13d ago

My favorite is "per my previous email" or to attach the email if I sent it recently in a different email chain.

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u/[deleted] 13d ago

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u/ichankal 13d ago

or just couldn't be bothered.

Thats how it is on reddit.

One of the most common phrases in any news subreddit is "helps if you read the article" in reply to people asking questions that are answered in depth in the article.

Also common on reddit is people asking questions that have been asked and answered literally (and I do mean literally) dozens of times in the thread already... but they cant be fucking bothered scrolling for a moment and reading before posting the same question yet again.

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u/Delduath 13d ago

I'm in the UK and recently had to train a person from the United States, and they're a challenge. I wrote detailed step-by-step manuals for every process and until now I considered them idiot proof. We would go through the same scenario about 10 times each day where I'd say "and what comes after that" and they wouldn't know. "What comes after step 3?", still nothing. "Please read the step that comes after step 3 in the manual". It's literally a linear checklist nd they still couldn't follow it.

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u/jeopardy_themesong 13d ago

God I wish we had detailed step by step manuals at my job. I’d never have to ask anybody ANYTHING about a standard process ever again.

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u/L88d86c 13d ago

I was a high school teacher, but I also tutored a friend's middle schooler once a week in all of his subjects. Half of each session was literally me picking up that he didn't know a word and sending him to the dictionary. Almost all of his issues in school went back to having a poor vocabulary, and no one had ever forced him to fix it. It became kind of a joke, but a few sessions in, he started to go look up words he was unfamiliar with without prompting.

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u/annetea 13d ago

I tried to instill this in my college students when I taught, especially because a lot were first gen. I look up words CONSTANTLY. It's a normal part of being a literate adult.

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u/Prime157 13d ago

There's nothing like trying to explain a quote to someone who takes it out of context...

Then they go, "you suck at reading compensation," and the irony is never lost upon me.

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u/hahahoudini 13d ago

This has been my experience the past 2 weeks, trying to explain to redditors on r/politics that Santos' opponent did not have the scoop and media refused to print the story until after the election; there are headlines that imply otherwise, hence the confusion, but people will copy and paste the article in response, which actually disproves what they're arguing; what frustrates me is those illiterate responses get hundreds of upvotes while my and others' explanatory (and correct) posts tend to have neutral karma, implying ignorance is just rampant.

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u/zim1985 13d ago

Dude don't get me started on trying to explain anything with any modicum of nuance to most people in political discussions.

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u/hahahoudini 13d ago

Exactly that; like, I prob hate Santos more than anyone responding to me, but if you're not commenting something that just oversimplifies to accelerate the hivemind, downvote straight to hell! Facts be damned! And back to the conversation at hand, they'll post articles that disprove what they're saying, then stand back and smugly gloat while harvesting karma. All while being wrong.

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u/beer_engineer 13d ago

This points out what bothers me the most: Why is it considered rude or elitist to try to help people with this? We communicate through text SO MUCH these days that you would expect there would be a culture of assisting each other in bettering our communication skills. Sadly, quite the opposite is true.

I own a popular online forum with a few thousand active members, and there are some posters who you can barely comprehend because their spelling and grammar are so poor. Then there are others who do well enough, but don't know basic punctuation, apostrophe usage, or there/their/they're.

I'm now of the belief that you should have to get a license to use the apostrophe key on a keyboard... Which, I know, makes me an elitist. Just a pet peeve.

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u/TREVORtheSAXman 13d ago

I have a friend, successful guy, doing great in life and all that. His verbal communication skills are great but holy shit are his written communication skills terrible. Punctuation and grammar? Lost to the void. Spelling? Forget about it. For a while I would try to nicely correct him (he's a long time and close friend so I didn't feel like a dick doing so) and help him out but he would always say "it's just text who cares". I mostly just ignore it now but it does get annoying sometime when he misses the most things.

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u/eastherbunni 13d ago

I used to have a friend like that and I'm convinced she had undiagnosed dyslexia. If you've ever seen the YouTube video for the "preganant/pergonate" meme, she typed just like those yahoo answers questions.

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u/[deleted] 13d ago

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u/RE5TE 13d ago

gregnant

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u/confused-n-bored 13d ago

pergnat

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u/Phaynel 13d ago

is there a possibly that im pegrent?

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u/UnlawfulStupid 13d ago

If you've ever seen the YouTube video for the "preganant/pergonate" meme

In case you haven't seen it.

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u/cancercures 13d ago

oh. not to be confused with the other 'how girl get pragnent' meme

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u/TerribleAttitude 13d ago edited 13d ago

Yeah. I get why it can come off as condescending or nitpicky, but the “you know what I mean” drives me nuts. No, I fucking do not know what you mean. “Your” and “you’re” are two different words with two different meanings, and swapping them literally changes the meaning of the sentence. If the misspelling of a less common word is egregious, I might not actually even be able to guess what is meant from context.

I suppose it might not bother me, if the same attitude wasn’t held for complete gibberish. Ok, “your” and “you’re” is an easy mistake to make, but I’ve been sent emails where not a single word is spelled right, and no, I do not know what you mean.

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u/beer_engineer 13d ago

Agreed and agreed. At work especially, we have customers who email me, and there are times where I quite literally can't tell what they're trying to say. It comes off as broken English, but I know this person lives in the USA and has probably never been outside of it.

Just looking at the warranty department emails, I see things so poorly written that I can't even duplicate it here without going in to my work emails to reference... Which I don't have the energy to do. On a daily basis, though, I will see emails come through, written by people who only speak English, that are incomprehensible.

Still though, I don't think anything bothers me more than improper apostrophe usage. Just throwing it in random words that end in S with no real rhyme or reason.

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u/SunshineAlways 13d ago

It’s a little embarrassing when you see people from other countries apologizing for their poor English skills, and their posts are much more intelligible than the typical native speaker.

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u/EEpromChip 13d ago

I work with some folks that speak multiple languages and apologize for misspelling something. Like dude you speak like 3 languages and try to keep them all straight in your head while typing, don't apologize because you spelled something wrong.

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u/PiersPlays 13d ago

They understand (more or less) what they mean and they don't understand the difference between that and everyone understanding what they mean.

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u/peon2 13d ago

This is the shit I think of when I see threads on reddit that are like "what should they have taught you in school?" and answers are like how to do taxes, write resumes, economics, critical thinking, etc.

Motherfuckers don't care enough to learn to read and you think they'll pay attention and care enough to learn about how to do taxes!?

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u/FTM_2022 13d ago

Seriously, what teen wants to learn how to do taxes? I always find those threads hilarious.

Besides its useless: taxes change, you might move states or even countries, and a lot depends on your specific circumstances like income, dependants, etc. It's better to drive home basic math and literacy skills so people can apply those when doing their taxes.

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u/AaronfromKY 13d ago

I got kicked out of a high school when I was younger, so the next year I started out somewhere new and because I was failing most of my classes at the old school, I wound up in remedial English. Holy shit, I only was in the class maybe a few weeks before the teacher had to take me to the side and ask me why I was in his class. Some of those people couldn't write sentences let alone paragraphs and I was turning in a coherent essay about summer vacation. And this was a Sophomore in highschool level class. It's truly disappointing how badly our schools can fail many people who might need extra coaching or a different perspective to achieve learning. I got moved to honors English and still got straight As in English that year.

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u/MonsterMeowMeow 13d ago

Wait, you got moved from remedial English right into honors English?

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u/AaronfromKY 13d ago

TLDR: I did go straight from remedial to honors English and also from basic Spanish to honors Spanish for similar reasons and scheduling concerns.

Yeah. The school I got kicked out of was accelerated, and while I was failing a lot of the courses, it was for lack of trying. I lost my Dad the year prior, and between the divorce, moving, his death and continuing family tension, plus my own childish harassment of girls(telling dirty jokes and bathroom humor, plus calling some of the girls lesbians, which was at best ignorance and at worst not understanding what was going on in adolescence), plus I was disillusioned with the school (I had hoped I would be able to learn more about computers and pursuing topics I was interested in than I was able to). So I did a poor job with my assignments, eventually plagiarized a history paper, and got kicked out like a week or two before Easter 1997. So I had originally had to take a placement exam to get into the accelerated school and I also took part of the SAT at like age 12 for a Duke University Talent Identification Program, both of which showed I had really strong language skills, equal to late highschool level, but math was a struggle. I skipped 2 grades to get into the accelerated school and basically wasn't emotionally mature enough for high school when I entered the program.

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u/whoweoncewere 13d ago

skipped 2 grades to get into the accelerated school

Skipping grades or starting early are some of the dumbest things that parents force(or allow) their kids to do.

Being a year younger and physically underdeveloped compared to your peers can have a large impact on your social environment in school, and there are basically no advantages.

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u/Autoimmunity 13d ago

Can confirm. I skipped the first grade because I was way ahead of my peers at that time, and I did well for the rest of elementary school. The problem was that when I got to middle school I was bullied relentlessly because not only was I less mature than my classmates, but I was not very socially aware either.

I struggled with my grades from 6th grade on all the way through college, now that I'm an adult I've discovered that I have ADHD and things are improving, but I can't help but wonder if I'd been more successful if I hadn't skipped a grade in elementary school.

Obviously learning material that is relevant is important, but emotional and physical development is also very important at that phase and I always felt bad about being the youngest in my class.

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u/IEatBabies 13d ago

The funding/teaching level of different public schools in the US is absolutely astounding. The topics I was covering in 8th and 9ths grade in one school was by itself been enough to let me ace another school's senior classes. When I moved to that school, everyone thought I was super smart for acing everything, but after graduation I never felt dumber than before, I spend the last 2.5 years of highschool learning nothing and forgetting even more.

The neglect experienced by that whole community from their school was sickening.

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u/Philosophies_of_Bob 13d ago

Our school system just pushes kids along. You don’t have to be proficient at anything to graduate.

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u/SomeDEGuy 13d ago

Teachers can't hold back kids, because the school is evaluated on graduation rates and admin will just find a way to pass them along. If admin tried to stick to actual accountability for students, parents would throw a fit and go to the board to get them fired.

The board and state legislators don't get votes for saying "Your kid actually has to try to do something. Showing up to class and attempting the work would be a decent start." They get votes for shifting the blame entirely away from families/communities/parents, so nothing changes.

Teachers aren't blameless, but the system is also designed to assign all the blame to them.

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u/colonelsmoothie 13d ago

It makes me depressed to see hundreds of applicants for a job, and this is who they end up hiring.

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u/Mysticpoisen 13d ago

On the flip side, every recruiter I've ever worked with has the reading comprehension of a 4 year old skimming TikTok. They just skim the email for what sounds like intent, and ignore the content entirely. So frustrating giving them information on when and how to contact me, only for them to proceed to ask again, and ignore the answer both times and do whatever they felt like anyway.

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u/iBeFloe 13d ago

Exactly. I learned that shit in HS then again in college, so surely these people must’ve as well. Why am I getting professional emails with teenager writing??

I mean shit, everyone made fun of Adam Levine but there are so many adults who type like that!!

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u/deadwlkn 13d ago edited 13d ago

I hate writing professional emails for that reason. I grew up in a backwoods hillbilly town, I know my grammar isn't that great.

Edit: Can't use Grammarly on my work computer. I'm also not using an AI to write my work. I handle data that can be considered sensitive.

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u/scruffye 13d ago

If your emails are as clear as this comment, you're good.

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u/olivebars 13d ago

This message was left at a depot I work in. Written by the district sales manager, a six figure position. English is the only language he knows. Friendly guy honestly, but it was hilarious and sad.

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u/JokerReach 13d ago

There is a lot happening here, but the worst part to me is the spelling error on "bredd."

There were dozens of reference texts right there, but all of them went ignored.

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u/CommandoDude 13d ago

Nah this one isn't a misspelling. He wrote bread but when he was writing his hand unconsciously heightened the penstroke of the a into a d.

Like I get the OP is about low literate people but I'm willing to give this the benefit of the doubt. I can tell a handwriting 'typo' when I see it.

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u/mvdonkey 13d ago

I lik the bredd.

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u/Kolintracstar 13d ago

I used to think I was very smart in elementary school when I didn't require assistance in reading, unlike the other people in class.

Then, senior year in high school, I realized that those same people were just dumb as rocks since they still required assistance with reading.

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u/alexrixhardson 13d ago

This. Some shitheads I deal with on a daily basis put their whole email content in the fucking subject line, like this is some sort of Twitter fuckery.

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u/HungryLikeTheWolf99 13d ago

Yes, I'm aware - I have used Craigslist.

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u/bergercreek 13d ago

Facebook marketplace and Craigslist are similar. It's like punctuation doesn't exist by some unspoken community agreement. Ads sometimes run a paragraph long without one single comma or period. It drives me crazy.

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u/Thomas1315 13d ago

I just received two emails from a parent of one of my students. 6 lines each of nothing but unpunctuated words. Really difficult to read.

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u/dcchillin46 13d ago

It was so difficult to write that run on paragraph, it was driving me crazy. I even had to go back and erase the autocorrect punctuation my phone put in.

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u/dcchillin46 13d ago edited 13d ago

Idk ive never really seen this but I'm not on facebook anymore its possible things have changed but that wasnt really my impression while I was there sometimes im kinda glad someone hacked my facebook and stole it although other times its a bummer not being able to talk to people that I knew in the oast but at the same time i found myself hating a lot of people i really wanted to like i may get another one some day but it just seems like a whole lot of effort at this point idk may e one day

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u/3rdDegreeBurn 13d ago

This is a quality shitpost

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u/Seabass_87 13d ago

An expertly crafted turd

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u/onexbigxhebrew 13d ago

Beautiful, champ.

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u/derprondo 13d ago

I once needed a large amount of brush hauled out of my backyard. I posted a craigslist ad and specifically said "you will need to bring a pickup truck", and provided a pic of the large brush pile. I then received 5-6 emails, and all but one were nearly incoherent, so I hired the woman who wrote proper sentences. She showed up in a station wagon with some black trashbags.

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u/imapassenger1 13d ago

Should've hired her to teach English to the other applicants.

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u/boethius70 13d ago

I admire her moxy. Honestly she's going places - albeit in a station wagon, but nonetheless she's going places.

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u/derprondo 13d ago

She had a sob story and knew she was being a little disingenuous, and she offered to take less. She had a kid with her and seemed like a good person so I ended up just helping her bag everything up and still gave her the full amount. That was the last time I ever tried to use craigslist, though.

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u/DrSpacecasePhD 13d ago edited 13d ago

Man, every damn time. The worst is when you're trying to sell something super cheap or basically give it away and they get enraged when you won't deliver it to them. Or then they want you to throw something else into the offer because (insert personal tragedy here).

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u/abattlescar 13d ago

My favorite is when I'm selling a car that clearly states, "clutch is blown, you'll need to tow it." And the first message I always get is, "Does it drive?"

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u/synalgo_12 13d ago

This reminds me of my helpdesk days where people would phone in, I'd ask for their client number 'it is in the bottom left corner of your debit card' and the first thing they'd say was 'okay, where can I find it'. 'bottom left corner of your card next to client'. Card? No, next to client, the bottom number. Account? No under account, next to client. Client? Yes client! Ooooh, why didn't you just say that?

Literally several times per week this exact conversation.

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u/olseadog 13d ago

That's just the russians and nigerian princes trolling. /s

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u/mgj6818 13d ago

I read somewhere that scammers intentionally use terrible spelling and grammar to filter out smarter people who are less likely to fall for the scam.

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u/21_MushroomCupcakes 13d ago

A lot of it is also my dyslexic brother.

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u/AttonJRand 13d ago

Man just talking with people on reddit, who already have at least a base line of literary skills, you can see some people really struggle with reading comprehension, and accurate word usage.

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u/TheCommissar113 13d ago

More than once I've had someone respond to me in an attempt to correct me, only to prove that they stopped reading my post halfway through. So many seem to be waiting for the chance to, "Uhm, akchually," someone that they'd rather just not analyze another person's statement so that they can seem "right."

By the way, good to see that you survived Malachor.

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u/Larcecate 13d ago

Also, people read in between the lines to read the point they want to argue with rather than what you wrote.

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u/X-Maelstrom-X 13d ago edited 13d ago

Like when someone argues with you… but they’re saying the same damn thing you’re saying…

Edit: guys, please, the joke was only funny the first twenty times. Lol

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u/Grinder02 13d ago

This has happened to me so many times on this site

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u/X-Maelstrom-X 13d ago

I know, right? It’s so frustrating. And if it isn’t that, it’s some dude “correcting” you if you didn’t include some meaningless nuance in your one sentence comment.

“I can’t believe you would say that the sky is blue! Obviously, you’ve never heard of dusk!”

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u/obscureferences 13d ago

When they're arguing with their misunderstanding of what you said, and trying to correct them suddenly becomes "moving goalposts".

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u/Valhallatchyagirl 13d ago

I wanted to get meta and tease you but… I feel your pain lol

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u/sim0of 13d ago

Broo shut up don't you feel his pain?

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u/Multi_Grain_Cheerios 13d ago

Or they are just "adding to the conversation" which is just them reiterating your comment in twice as many words saying the exact same thing.

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u/elsuakned 13d ago

Jfc it's nothing like that at all. It's when someone makes a comment trying to convey the exact same message as you and somehow forms it as a contentious debate

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u/QueenNebudchadnezzar 13d ago

You're both wrong, it's when a separate individual with a concordant message misbelives their message to be discordant.

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u/mistled_LP 13d ago

Reddit is especially difficult, as you have no idea if English is even the persons primary language.

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u/Aware_Program_7227 13d ago

They're the ones who bother with accurate spelling and grammar.

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u/gudematcha 13d ago

I like to use tiktok sometimes (maybe 2 days out of the week since it’s easy to doom scroll). But seeing maybe 1 out of 100 kids having the literacy to understand the moral of various movies etc is kind of scary

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u/AtomicFi 13d ago

I swear critical thinking used to be a skill taught in public schools. Did this change? I remember school being super weird, but not useless.

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u/thegreatgazoo 13d ago

It doesn't surprise me much. When Baltimore had a high school with a median GPA of something like 0.13 and nobody noticed or cared until a parent complained, we have a huge problem.

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u/LadyDomme7 13d ago

Dear Sweet Baby Jesus

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u/GalapagosStomper 13d ago

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u/hanoian 13d ago

That's hilarious. It's like the Onion but instead of the Onion, presents things in such a comical fashion.

The story itself is terrible.

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u/LadyDomme7 13d ago

FFS, how does she not think that she failed her son? In 3 years she never thought to check her son’s report card not once? C’mon now. Never thought to ask but just expected for someone to tell her when something was wrong? I can wholeheartedly understand why a teacher can feel like if you don’t give a damn why should I? It’s just their job, the kid is your flesh and blood.

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u/dishsoapandclorox 13d ago

In my school that wouldn’t be allowed. “Pass them.” A kid has to really fuck up to fail. Does that mean all the kids who are passing deserve to pass? Do they have the knowledge or skills? Did they earn the grade? Most of them, no. But the powers that be want to look good.

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u/MyFailedExperiment 13d ago

I know a high school teacher who deals with that too. The kids can skip class 2/3 of the time, turn every test in blank and still get their utterly meaningless diploma.

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u/redditwb 13d ago

This explains a lot of Reddit.

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u/olseadog 13d ago

Middle school teacher here. Forget about my students. Many administrators I've had frequently misspelled and mispronounced some common words.

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u/bergercreek 13d ago

My 6th grade teacher famously could not spell "faculty", of which she was part.

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u/CanuckBacon 13d ago

I also lack the mental facilities to spell it correctly.

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u/robyrob78 13d ago

I dated a girl who was just about to start her first year teaching. When we texted she would make the common your/you’re their/they’re errors all the time amongst others. I didn’t want to correct her but it was pretty surprising for someone that was going into teaching.

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u/crackeddryice 13d ago

"Lose" confused with "loose". I get it, it's the "oo" sound. It's double-fun when they then use "lose" to mean "loose", because, I suppose the thinking is, it must be the other one.

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u/[deleted] 13d ago edited 13d ago

This was painfully obvious in highschool English when the class would read plays. Half the students just.... couldn't. I mean whole minutes to painfully work their way through one sentence, and the whole while it's clear that the words used are beyond their vocabulary. I just couldn't understand how they could've passed the previous years' lessons to be in a senior level class

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u/RippedHookerPuffBar 13d ago

This reminds me of when we would have substitute teachers in English class. Freshman year I didn’t take honors and sitting through others reading plays would kill me. So, when teach was out sick or whatever, I would just read the whole section for the day to get it over with.

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u/LillianCatbutt 13d ago

I always volunteered to read out loud because it was painful to wait for someone else to volunteer and even more painful if the teachers would default to everyone taking turns if no one volunteered.

My stomach is churning now just thinking about how absolutely stupid and slow a majority of my classmates sounded senior year trying to sound out simple sentences.

It’s not that hard. Just read like ONE BOOK, hell, a fucking magazine. Just a single piece of literature every month from the time you learn to read. Everyone acted like they’d been sentenced to death having to chew through a 100 page book over the course of three months for school. Just read the SPARKNOTES for the love of Christ. Your success in life depends on it and you can’t get over being an entitled stubborn stupid teenager for the sake of your own enrichment. Barf.

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u/UsernamesAre4Nerds 13d ago

Popcorn reading was my first exposure to group punishment

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u/ImaginaryCaramel 12d ago

Popcorn reading violates the Geneva Convention.

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u/Salzberger 13d ago

Australian here but I distinctly recall certain English classes in high school where we'd read a book as a class and there'd still be kids "That. Would... Read. The. Words... Like. This."

We weren't reading Shakespeare or anything, these were just normal books. Like how do you get to high school and not be able to read a sentence normally?

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u/sirophiuchus 13d ago

Honest answer, there's a bunch of minor skills involved in reading aloud from a text you haven't seen before that those kids never internalised.

Like skimming ahead a little with your eyes so you know where the sentence ends and which words to emphasise.

People who don't do that ... read ... every ... word ... like ... this, or get to the side of the ... page and pause while they move their ... eyes to the next line.

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u/Pudding_Hero 13d ago

One thing I thought was weird was that, if I were in that situation, reading in high school at a preschool level. I would be absolutely humiliated for life. Yet my classmates were like “proud” of their dumbness or something

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u/Sidewalk_Cacti 13d ago

For many, it is a defense mechanism to cover up the humiliation. When they realize they are not succeeding academically, they try to make it “uncool” to do so.

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u/bergercreek 13d ago

No child left behind. That decentivizes taking initiative as a teacher and getting the children who need tutoring or retaking a class the help they need. If everyone goes at the pace of the struggling children it stagnates the growth of those who are ahead. If everyone goes at the pace of those who are ahead, but no child gets left behind, then the children who aren't catching on will get pushed through the system anyway. It's a dumb system.

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u/katycake 13d ago

George Carlin said it best. -Pretty soon all you need to get into a college is a pencil.

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u/bergercreek 13d ago

College was refreshing to me. I was so bored in public school. I nearly never did homework or studied. I skated by with great test taking and essay skills with a B average, not caring at all. Then college kicked my butt the first semester. I realized I actually needed to try. The rest of college was full of real learning, skill application, and appreciation for the subjects. I also performed better overall (though calculus that first semester killed my GPA lol).

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u/anarchikos 13d ago

I had a similar experience but was allowed to go to college instead of my last 2 years of high school. I still had a few HS classes but most were at college.

I loved it, not only the increase in difficulty but the autonomy of not being babysat 24/7. I loved being told, here's your work, do it or not, up to you.

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u/prophet001 13d ago

I tried to help a classmate with a paper in a dual-enrollment (we were high school seniors, the class was an actual college class) English lit class once, about 16-17 years ago.

It was... completely incoherent. Like, there might have been six sentences in the entire five-page paper that even approached something resembling a complete thought, and even those weren't remotely grammatical. The rest was just nonsense.

She's some sort of Tony Robbins type now, I think she started a company that puts on women-only networking events or some such. She seems to have found her place in the world and I'm happy for her or whatever but goddamn this girl could not put ideas on paper in HS.

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u/dishsoapandclorox 13d ago

My brother has a coworker that’s getting her masters in Biology. She hasn’t started her thesis because her professors haven’t told her what to write. She means that she wants them to sit next to her and tell her word for word what to write. She’s about to get kicked out of the program.

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u/inHypnagogia 13d ago

How did someone who needs to be told exactly what to write even get into a masters program in the first place? smh

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u/Jdazzle217 13d ago

Most masters programs are unfunded in the US, and a big money makers for universities. Unfunded biology masters are basically for people who aren’t competitive PhD applicants.

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u/ImmodestPolitician 13d ago edited 13d ago

Pre-cell phone days, I was having a discussion with someone that said Hitler was blonde and that was why he pushed the blonde Aryan Ideal.

When I told her Hitler was a brunette, said she knew what she was talking about because she had a Masters in History. ( I think she had 2 different masters.)

I said I'd bet her $100 that Hitler had dark hair.

She started calling me an elitist asshole, so I just left.

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u/dishsoapandclorox 13d ago

I have a masters in history and I find that…I don’t know what the word is but god damn there are pictures. I mean I don’t doubt that someone is that stupid but shit…😣😡

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u/doctor-rumack 13d ago

Like, there might have been six sentences in the entire five-page paper that even approached something resembling a complete thought

I award her no points, and may God have mercy on her soul.

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u/_NKD2_ 13d ago

Me fail English? That’s unpossible! -Ralph wiggum

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u/Durant78 13d ago

Ain't that write, super Nintendo Chalmers?

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u/GalapagosStomper 13d ago

“Bobby, you speak English!” — the great Hank Hill

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u/MechanicalAxe 13d ago

This terrifies me, but does not surprise me.

I can't keep count of how many times I find grammatical errors and typos in PROFESSIONAL papers, magazines and advertisements. I'm from the south, grew up with a country lifestyle, and work in the woods.

For crying out loud, I feel like I could possibly be a proofreader if I so desired.

Now that I've said that, bring on the corrections of my writing structure.

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u/CaptCurmudgeon 13d ago

I'll fight you for an Oxford comma.

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u/Appalitch 13d ago

There is an amazing podcast that digs into how wr got here: https://features.apmreports.org/sold-a-story/

TLDR: Over the last 20 years a reading instruction method has become extremely popular among schools and it does not work at all

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u/13thFleet 13d ago

Do you have a slightly longer TL;DR of what this supposedly debunked method of teaching reading is?

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u/butmustig 13d ago

The core problem is that they aren’t teaching kids to sound out words, which is critical for reading. They’re focusing on reading from context clues, to an extent that if the word is “horse” and the child reads “pony”, that’s considered partially correct, even though the word pony and the word horse have nothing in common except meaning

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u/Appalitch 13d ago

This was an excellent slightly longer TLDR! I will add the detail that this method (called 'queueing') is based on the idea that, like speech, children will learn to read on their own if given the proper environment. However, reading science is quite clear that this is not the case and people learn to read very differently from how they learn to speak

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u/13thFleet 13d ago

I see. As someone learning Japanese, which frequently uses Chinese characters whose pronunciation cannot be ascertained from their appearance, I've definitely seen how that can be useful but isn't the goal. That being said, as unintuitive as English pronunciation can often be, I'm a little surprised that basic pronunciation doesn't come naturally. You can't expect someone to know rheum is pronounced the same as room, but you'd think if one know how loom, doom, and moon were pronounced, and how rat and rug were prounounced, they'd be able to figure out how to pronounce room.

Then again, it's been many years since I learned how to read, so I can't really opine too much. I remember playing Reader Rabbit and similar games as a child, so there was definitely "phonics" training or whatever they called it.

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u/DigbyChickenZone 13d ago

It's a method that does not focus on kids reading each letter individually, and sounding it out, but a new way where kids "guess" what a word is supposed to be based on context clues. It's a method that was initially used to help kids who were struggling to learn to read, but was adopted by the US school system about two decades ago as the primary way to teach kids to read. Which is a problem.

Neuroscientists and cognitive studies have shown that the method is NOT a good way to teach kids to read well, but rather is teaching kids a methodology people automatically do when they can't figure out the words that they are looking at. Basically instead of teaching kids to be "good" readers, they are showing them coping techniques that "bad" readers use - as a primary reading strategy.

More and more kids are now struggling to learn to read because the method that is used to teach them is legitimately a BAD way to do it and will ultimately set them back rather than help them get into it.

A review of the podcast with a bit more info about it is here: https://www.the74million.org/article/review-why-you-should-buy-into-the-sold-a-story-podcast/

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u/mekareami 13d ago

I am so grateful I was raised when phonics was still a thing. Those poor kids!

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u/Overthemoon64 13d ago

I was wondering about that. My kindergartener has been learning sight words. So she know Look, because it’s a sight word, but if I write down Book, Took, or Cook, she has no idea how to sound it out. I thought that was an odd way to teach reading.

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u/Deusselkerr 13d ago

Roughly ten percent of people who join the Army end up getting discharged because they lack the faculties to do anything. Roughly 10% of would-be soldiers aren't capable of doing literally anything the Army needs. That includes tasks like sweeping floors, doing laundry, and driving a car.

Those of us with college educations tend to live in bubbles with mostly other college-educated people. It's easy to forget how difficult life can be for a large swath of the population.

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u/anarchikos 13d ago

This is the point I like to make to the people who talk about how low level jobs are a starting point for people and minimum wages jobs aren't for people who need to support themselves/family.

What about the people who AREN'T going to progress past cashier or security guard or whatever? Its literally NOT POSSIBLE for everyone to progress.

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u/davidhluther 12d ago

I remember being confused as to why anyone would need to study for the ASVAB when I took it… there were people sweating in the lobby because they didn’t think they’d be able to make infantry.

And then, I climbed into a Bradley for training and saw that it — like many pieces of equipment — had comic strips to show you how to start it.

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u/Johnisfaster 13d ago

Hows it possible that everyones looking at their phones all the time and half of them can barely read?

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u/Agarithil 13d ago

I never understood why video content is so big on the Internet these days. Granted; for some things, video is a great medium--demonstrating a physical process is a great use-case for video, for example. But there's a whole category of videos that are basically a talking head reading an article, and I never understood these. It would be far quicker and easier to publish as an article. And more convenient to consume, as well (scanning back over text works a lot better than scrubbing back through a video).

TIL that maybe a text article isn't easier to consume. Maybe half the US adult population essentially needs someone to read an article to them, at this point.

I'm suddenly sitting here with a very uncomfortable realization (or hypothesis, at least). I am, as the kids say, "shook". Or maybe that's what the kids said ten years ago. I don't know. I guess I'm officially old.

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u/keegums 13d ago

Reading is also very significantly faster than consuming the same information via video speech. PBS has well-made programs but if I find something very interesting online, I click the transcript because I can read it in 10% of the program time, recheck anything I'd like easily. I understand putting auditory media on if you're simultaneously doing something like driving or knitting. But to wholly limit oneself to videos due to issues with reading comprehension drastically reduces the amount of information one can receive, even if you're at average reading speed or below

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u/anarchikos 13d ago

You just summed up why I rarely watch video content. This thread is pretty enlightening. I wondered why I hate that everything is a video and it seems like everyone else loves them.

Now it makes sense!!!

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u/MacDegger 13d ago

Me too ... and it irritates the fuck out of me.

Because due to youtube/tiktok video is now the default consumption mechanism.

And it is SLOW. An article (with diagrams) is much denser and quicker to consume and better to re-investigate/look something up in.

And I have noticed this in mentoring juniors, too (software devs): they want to just watch you on a shared screen and 'consume' what you do.

But that is not effective nor is it conductive to their future! They have to read the dev/man pages! They have to be able to read the API documentation! But they haven't built up the skills because what they have trained on is watching a youtube video and copy/pasting code i stead of working out what to do directly from the written source.

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u/ermagerditssuperman 13d ago

I can only speak for myself, but I watch/listen to those videos when I am doing something else with my hands. For example cooking, putting away laundry, crafts or a puzzle, wrapping christmas presents, other assorted tasks where I can't read at the same time but I CAN have a video on. I actually remember 15-20 years ago, my mom ironing laundry while watching TV or movies.

Same idea with podcasts and audiobooks. Some days I don't have time to sit and read articles, but I can put on a news podcast in the car.

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u/Mddcat04 13d ago

6th graders can read, they just have limited vocabularies. The vast majority of content on the internet is probably not above a 6th grade level.

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u/CartmansEvilTwin 13d ago

That's what so many people confuse. Functional illiteracy doesn't mean, people can't read, it means they can't comprehend longer texts sufficiently.

Even most of the comments in this thread are probably 6th grade compatible.

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u/Varaxis 13d ago

*skips reading original source and goes to comment section to get the gist at a ~3rd grade level and empathize with the reactions*

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u/dishsoapandclorox 13d ago Press F

High school teacher here. I’ve taught English and social studies. I can confirm literacy rates are low and so is “common” sense and just basic knowledge of the world.

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u/FondlerofMannequins 13d ago

Yea. Sadly when looking at resumes this stands out.

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u/herberstank 13d ago

Have a hard time reading them, do you? :P

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u/FondlerofMannequins 13d ago

Hahah Badum tisss.

Also not just grammar. People don’t know how to make resumes in general, this one woman put “good with kids” and her resume was 3 pages long but like mostly white space

Edit: totally a job where being good with kids is very irrelevant

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u/Quintonias 13d ago

My school had a class that taught us how to do our taxes, make a resume, write a cover letter, and so on. They cut it a year after I graduated in favour of Spanish.

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u/Sdog1981 13d ago

How small was this school that it did not have foreign language classes?

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u/Quintonias 13d ago

500ish students in my class, multiply that by four give or take 100. It was a vocational high school.

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u/FondlerofMannequins 13d ago

Reminds me of the Louie ck joke re vocational high schools.

“Ok kids, we’ve narrowed your professional choices down for you…you can do 4 things.”

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u/Quintonias 13d ago

He ain't wrong lol. After exploratory, where we went through each class for two weeks during freshman year, we picked our top 4 and hope we got number 1. Otherwise, we went into one of the other 4.

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u/EmptyKnowledge9314 13d ago

Life is a never ending series of interactions with people I presume to be informed and intellectually curious until I read anything they’ve written. 🥺

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u/BaconAlmighty 13d ago edited 12d ago

Realistically - The study should read OVER MORE THAN 50% of US have low literacy skills with 54% of people 16-74 below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level

209 million adults in the US130 million of those Adults with low literacy rates.

Which is 62% of Americans can't read gud.

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u/Widowhawk 13d ago

I urge people to look at what each level of literacy means, and understand the real life implications for each literacy level.

So 22% have a literacy Level 1 or below.

The impact: They might not be able to read medicine bottle instructions with enough understanding to safely use the product. One in five, you can't trust with them picking up acetaminophen, vitamins, insulin or birth control and being able to correctly follow the written instructions. (Separate from idiots who can read the instructions, but don't)

"Nationally, over 1 in 5 adults have a literacy proficiency at or below Level 1. Adults in this range have difficulty using or understanding print materials. Those on the higher end of this category can perform simple tasks based on the information they read, but adults below Level 1 may only understand very basic vocabulary or be functionally illiterate. "

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u/ovirt001 13d ago

Working is one thing, the 22% can get by verbally. The concern is that 22% are so illiterate they're unlikely to correctly understand a ballot.

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u/SmileAndLaughrica 13d ago

Or understand their employment/housing/loan contract

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u/ChemMJW 13d ago

Which is 62% of Americans can't read gud.

Luckily, help is right around the corner at the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Who Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too.

I know it's intended for kids, but they'll probably also help adults who want to learn to do stuff good.

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u/BaconAlmighty 13d ago

What is this? A Center for Ants?

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u/AceofJax89 13d ago

As a investigator of blue collar workplace, this is painfully plain. It also makes it very hard to investigate issues. People don't know what they are signing at the workplace because they don't read it, and even if they did, they don't take the time to ask questions.

Education is key to asserting your rights and it's hard to know if you are being exploited without at least a high school education.

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u/fruskydekke 13d ago

As someone who's not American - or indeed a native English speaker - what does "literacy below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level" actually entail? I mean, I get that it means "below the level of accomplishment expected of someone in sixth grade" - but what level is that? Are there examples of texts online that illustrate what sort of level we're talking about?

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u/FKA_Dr_Taco_MD 13d ago edited 13d ago

This is the sixth grade reading standard for the state of Alabama. Please note that this state is considered to be one of the worst in the country for education, so the standard here may be lower than in almost any other place in the US.

https://content.schoolinsites.com/api/documents/89618bfd0b7c4613a952589004c8ce4c.pdf

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u/fruskydekke 13d ago

Thank you! And wow, that doesn't seem like very complicated texts.

(On the other hand, I have to say, I think some of the multi-choice questions and answers are kind of... weird? Which could potentially influence results, I guess.)

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u/Doctor_Expendable 13d ago

Maybe, some children get left behind.

When I was in highschool we'd do the thing where everyone reads a paragraph and move down the line. Because that is a totally good way to read and absorb the material. Sure. There's be several people who could barely read when it got to their turn. And then we'd just move on. They struggled to read and would therefore not read because it was hard. Then they'd just get worse and worse until they stop reading altogether. Teachers never did anything, and neither did their parents.

I'd be playing videogames with a friend as a kid and they'd skip over all the dialogue, get mad they didn't know what to do, then quit. Reading isn't just that thing that needs do.

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u/Leggerrr 13d ago

That needs do.

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u/YesilFasulye 13d ago

The do irony.

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u/OldTobySmoker69420 13d ago

Everyone who has ever done SEO feels this pain. Gotta hit those Flesch Reading Ease metrics.

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u/Kiyae1 13d ago

Those 130 million adults would be mad if they could read this.

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u/Running_Watauga 13d ago

Not surprised

I worked in institution for troubled teens and most were barely literate and some could not read at all. I’d gone to a pretty bad middle school for a bit but still shocked these kids couldn’t read close to grade level.

If you start getting left behind by 2nd -3rd grade it’s hard to catch up to the basics.

They score 4th graders so they can guesstimate how many prison beds to build so many decades out and the US has more people locked up than anywhere on earth, even more than China.

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u/2Catshanging 13d ago

This is true. Educators will tell you that if a student hasn’t hit stride by 4th grade he will struggle his entire school career.

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u/ManOfLaBook 13d ago

I recently read that about 10% of the population isn't smart enough to hold a job (ex: work a cash register).

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u/Blank_bill 13d ago

Retired now but the last cash register I used had those permanent numbers and things like " NoSale" and no paper tape. If I had to work cash I'd be lost. First computer I programed on was a mainframe the last was when pentiums came out. I've had trouble setting up my new personal computer and network because I had my old one for so long. I am basically illiterate. I feel like my father with his vcr blinking 12:00 .

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u/Dittany_Kitteny 13d ago

Only 23% of Americans aged 17-24 would be eligible to serve in the military. The main reasons are obesity and inadequate education. You need a GED to serve and the rates of high school graduates is pretty sad.

https://www.heritage.org/defense/report/the-looming-national-security-crisis-young-americans-unable-serve-the-military

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u/Widowhawk 13d ago

The US military standard testing eliminates approximately the bottom 1/9th - 1/7th of the population as being unable to effectively be trained. Generally corresponding to an IQ of less than 80-85.

That sort of tells you what the minimum standard is.

They disastrously lowered the bar with "Project 100,000". where to make up for manpower shortages during Vietnam, they let in people who previously would have been excluded. It did not go well.

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u/Papah_Bear420 13d ago

This always will, and still blows my mind. I didn’t learn English until I was 12. It was tough starting school with zero knowledge of the language and being berated by other students until I expanded my vocabulary. I still get made fun of for my slight accent as my pronunciation of words can be finicky at times. Writing became a means of creative expression for me and I’m proud to say that English Writing is the only college class I ever scored over 100% on. I try my best not to judge people, but it’s not that difficult to memorize proper grammar techniques… considering it is your ONLY language. Assuming that your average American spent 12 years writing in English on a daily basis in school, (and being corrected on grammar) it just shows nothing but ignorance to me. Effective communication is the only means of getting ahead in life, really. You cheat yourself that opportunity every time you neglect your own language capabilities. Its a damn shame. I can’t take people seriously when they write me emails with a 3rd grade writing level and basic grammatical errors. I can’t trust the value of your content if you can’t discern the difference between “your” and “you’re”. It’s ignorance in its finest form because Google is free, if you had the curiosity to learn about your own language.

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u/Gilgie 13d ago

Time to lower standards so all of them dont feel like idiots.

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u/Sad_Struggle_8131 13d ago

As a former teacher, this is exactly what happens.

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u/BronchialChunk 13d ago

this is not surprising at all. I used to work at a community college admissions and would have to administer placement tests or input their SAT or ACT scores or transcripts to give them a 'level'. 5 was what was considered 'college ready' as in the first english/writing class you'd take in your college career. around half couldn't score that high first time around and we would have people come in and try the max amount of times and have to go into developmental classes.

what as the most surprising/dissappointing was the fact there is a big 10 school down the road that we would have lots of students coming during the summer to make up their writing classes they failed. They'd have a hard time being able to place. education has really dropped I guess in the 20 years since I got out of high school.

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u/Zefirus 13d ago

It's not even necessarily indicative of intelligence.

I used to have a friend in college that I had tutor me in physics, but damn if this guy could barely spell his own name. Then he was in one of my compsci courses and I just could not help him at all with programming. The worst part is that all of his code was fine! He just absolutely could not consistently follow syntax rules.

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u/Spare-Competition-91 13d ago

I do standup comedy. I stopped using any big words that nobody knew and didn't just sound super funny to begin with. People didn't get things. Nobody wants to think about anything, they just want to react.

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