Famous Quotations and One-liners Related to Literacy

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Persons over age 45 cannot imagine a serious learning environment that includes guns, drugs, theft, rape, pregnancy - and parental disinterest.

You will be surprised -- maybe even flabbergasted -- at how little time it takes to teach a child to read if you have the right tools and use the right system. I recommend teaching in 20-minute segments, no more than three segments a day. [3]

When people ask me, what is the most fulfilling thing I've done in my whole life, I answer -- teaching my six children to read before they entered school. Our family got a bigger return for the time I spent on that activity than anything else I ever did. I urge you, and your family and friends, to do likewise. Footnote [3]

Los Angeles may be a model of what America is to become. Sixty-one percent in the City of Angels speak a language other than English at home, which means they don't listen to English-language radio and TV programs, don't get their news from English-language newspapers and magazines, and don't share our heroes, history or holidays. [4]

Illiteracy is a cruel, economic, social, and lifelong handicap for many millions of individuals in English-speaking countries. Footnote[1]

Literacy continues to decline in the U.S. despite massive campaigns and dollars provided by federal and state initiatives.

Only one country spends more per pupil than the United States - Switzerland.

The school is the wrong place to learn how to read, anyway, because reading is a solitary, not a group, activity. Reading is not something you do with other people, like playing ball; reading is something you do with a book and a guardian or instructor. Other people in the room are a bad distraction. [3]

When a child has fallen two grade levels behind the rest of the class and has not mastered reading, upon reaching 9th grade, that person is now two years older than others in the class. Menial jobs will seem alluring, and he or she is 90% at risk of dropping out of school.

One graduating student in San Francisco sued the school district for educational mal-practice. He received a diploma but could not read at the 5th grade level. Chicago Tribune.

In 1955 Rudolph Flesch stated seven times if his book "Why Johnny Still Can't Read" that 87% to 97% of all English words are spelled phonetically. That was simply wrong - assuming you know what the term "phonetic spelling" means. There are fewer than 22% of English words that use letters consistently and uniformly to represent speech sounds..

If money could end illiteracy, there would be no problem because the schools have had plenty of money. It takes very little money, anyway. All it takes is a good phonics system. In addition to the billions of state and local taxpayer dollars that annually finance the first grade in tens of thousands of public schools, $118 billion of federal tax dollars have been spent through Title I program of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act over the last 35 years. It's a colossal failure. More than a third of public school students are now in remedial education classes while achievement continues to decline. [3] Phyllis Shalfley as read into the Congressional Record.

At Stanford University linguists wrote a program that would attempt to spell 17,000 English words by following common rules of spelling plus the exceptions to the rules. Three hundred eight rules emerged. But the exception lists became to large to continue the project. Only one rule had no exception - there is no English word that ends in "V." Source unknown.

Illiteracy is almost non-existent in many countries - Finland, Hungary, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Holland, and Germany. [1]

Reading is a skill you have to learn to do by yourself (with the help of an adult), like learning how to walk, or ride a bike, or play the piano. Did you ever hear of anyone lining up a bunch of children at pianos and saying, Now we are all going to learn how to play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" at the same time? [3]

After trying New Age touchy-feely ways to educate children in California, parents and politicians decided it would be good for kids to learn to spell. Assembly bill 1504 requires the State Board of Education to adopt spelling books. None were in use in 1995 when the bill was introduced. They stated "We ended up with math books that had no arithmetic and literature books without reading skills." Books that referenced phonics or spelling had been banned from state-approved lists five years earlier. Five years later, tests revealed that California reading scores ranked last among the 39 states tested. Only the Island of Guam had worse scores. (Chicago Tribune May 14, 1995)

How many states require high school graduates to demonstrate at least 8th grade reading competency? Thirty. Federal Publications - State of Literacy in America

Of all the major western languages, written English is far and away the hardest one to learn to read. [1]

The premise that poverty causes illiteracy is fundamentally wrong. In the 18th and 19th centuries when Americans were pitifully poor by today's standards, we had almost complete literacy. Today up to 50% of Americans are illiterate or only semi-literate. Just compare today's politicians' writings with those of the 18th century - such as The Federalist Papers. [3]

How many people did AT&T have to interview before they found 1,200 people with adequate reading and writing skills? The answer is 6,000. Source AT&T

11 million US adults are not literate in English - study (AP) Updated: 2005-12-16 10:57

...the Wall Street Journal featured an editorial by a teacher called "Why I Read to My Child," extolling the pleasures of reading fine literature to his child. But there was one big problem with this editorial -- the child was eight years old! Why wasn't the child reading by himself? Why did the eight year old need his father to read to him? Why wasn't the child taught how to read so he could be progressing to more and more difficult books? In the time this father spent reading to his child, he could have made his son a good reader! It is splendid to read to two- and three- and four-year-old children in order to tell them good stories and introduce them to books. But not to eight year olds. [3]

Why do we want to test people for drugs and alcohol? Why don't we test them for stupidity, illiteracy, and avarice? The nation would be better. [unknown source]

Not one parent in ten (maybe 100) has any idea how irregular and inconsistent the spelling of our sounds is, how hard English is to learn to read, especially for slower learners. Nor have they any idea how much easier the other alphabetic languages are. [1]

From 1992 to 2003, adults made no progress in their ability to read sentences and paragraphs or understand other printed material such as bus schedules or prescription labels.

Schoolchildren's declining verbal skills are linked to increasingly simplified schoolbooks. Hayes says that first-grade reading books are now written at about "the level at which a farmer talks to his cows." Report from Cornell Sociologist Donald Hayes

When reading is taught in a classroom, most of the children spend most of their time doing "busy work" to fill up the hours. The days are so long, the repetition is so boring, the books are so stupid, the progress is so slow that so many children, who were eager to learn at the start of the first grade, become bored and disorderly by the end of the first year in school. [3]

Even as more people get a formal education, the literacy rate continues to fall. High school dropouts and free flowing immigrants keep the literacy rate in perpetual decline.

ESEA's purpose is to tie schools to the floor of minimum achievement rather than to the ceiling of educational excellence and possibilities. The oft-repeated phrase "all children will learn" really means that all children will be taught only the lowest level of learning that is actually reached by all children on average. [3]

Adults with ability to perform challenging and complex reading tasks made an average yearly salary of $50,700 (euro42,250) in 2003. That is $28,000 (euro23,330) more than those who lacked basic skills.

When the words of a language are spelled phonetically - each letter spells only one sound, children who speak that language have little difficulty learning to read. And they do it amazingly fast. [1]

It is terribly important that your child be taught to read by the correct method before he or she is taught bad habits such as pretending to read by looking at pictures and guessing at the words. Your children and grandchildren can avoid all those bad habits, and the disappointments that result, if you teach your child to read at home. [3]

The illiteracy level of our children are appalling. George W. Bush

Rarely is the question asked: is our children learning? George W. Bush

One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures. George W. Bush

Absolutely, illiteracy can be passed on. Wally Amos

Illiteracy is the result of the failure to use phonics to teach children how to read, i.e., teach them the sounds and syllables of the English language so they can put them together like building blocks and read words. [3]

"It's really hard to have a well educated and highly intellectual population of children if they go home to parents who do not have adequate reading skills," said Dale Lipschultz, president of the National Coalition for Literacy, a broad range of education groups.

Tourist in a German bookstore asks for a dictionary that will show how to pronounce the German words. The response: "We don't have dictionaries like your English dictionaries because German isn't like English. Our conventional spelling shows you how to pronounce any word." [1]

Which country has three times higher illiteracy than Russia? The United States.

I believe that the worst of all injustices, far worse than not getting to eat at the same lunch counter, far worse than not getting to vote, was the injustice of keeping [minority students] in school for so many years without teaching them how to read. When they cannot read, they'll never be able to advance beyond a minimum-wage job. [3]

How many naval recruits recently failed to meet required reading and writing tests? 30 percent.

Extracting thoughts from Frank Laubach in his book "Teaching the World to Read," "There cannot be education without literacy. Film, lectures, movies, radio, television cannot lift the economic and cultural plight of people who remain illiterate. Locked up in writing are all the great secrets and discoveries the human race has produced in the last 8,000 years.

What is phonetic spelling? It is the spelling of each identifiable sound ONE WAY ONLY, and to the extent possible use each letter to represent only one sound. [1]

Someone has said that there is no such thing as functional illiteracy; because when a person is illiterate, he is not functional. Theodore Roosevelt

Former Netscape president James L. Barksdale announced a $100 million gift to promote the teaching of reading in Mississippi because, he said, "we have 300,000 to 400,000 jobs we can't fill in industry, primarily because young people don't know how to read."

I have this belief that children become readers before they can read. They become hooked on books because they were read aloud to as a child. Jacqueline Wilson:

The longest distance in the world is between an official ..... curriculum policy and what goes on in the mind of a child. Peter Schrag, American educationist:

One cannot tell how to spell an English word by its pronunciation, or how to pronounce it by its spelling. [2]

In 1988 23% of freshmen entering California colleges needed remedial help in math. This figure has now risen to 55%. If parents want their children to learn arithmetic, they will have to teach them at home. Education Reporter - Feb 2000.

Most parents work hard to provide their children with the material things of life. Many parents work hard to provide their children with the spiritual things of life -- faith in God, moral training, and good and healthy habits. There is something else you can do for your child that is important to both of these goals -- because it's the key to what your child will be able to do on his own. You can teach your child to read. [3]

Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. PJ O'Rourke, American writer

When are Americans going to deal with the scandal of illiteracy and the fraudulent way this scandal is addressed by leaders who should know better? Public school curriculum is not the business of the Federal Government. George W. Bush's national education plan calls for increasing federal spending, spending $1,000 per child to teach reading, and making sure that every child can read "by the end of the third grade." The schools are cheating children if they are not taught to read by the end of the first grade, and it doesn't cost $1,000. Any child can be taught to read with Phyllis Schlafly's Turbo Reader for $49.95. (1-800-700-5228). [3] written into the Congressional Record.

All that mankind has done, thought, gained or been: it is all lying in magic preservation in the pages of books. Thomas Carlyle

The person who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. Mark Twain

Our poor spelling system prevents children from making generalizations. . . Such a situation not only discourages the child from trying to discover how to pronounce other words, but makes it practically impossible for him to do so. Verg Southgate in "Reading Skills."

If a child learns the first word in these word-pairs, will they be able to pronounce the second word? all, ALLergy     bear,BEARd     broth,BROTHer     cloth,CLOTHing     cove,COVEr     crow,CROWd     deal,DEALt     doze,DOZEn     do,DOn't     grave,GRAVEL     hat,HATred     map,MAPle     ran,RANge     ton,TONic     she,SHEllac     sour,SOURce and thousands more...

Outside of a dog, a man's best friend is a book. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx:

It's now clear that the schools are not going to remedy the injustice of illiteracy. The schools have decided that they would rather teach self-esteem than reading.

The crux of the problem is in teaching the slower learners the first 2,000 most used words because they represent 90% of the words on most pages. That's four words a day for 170 school days across a three year period.

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents. Emily Buchwald:

Teaching your child to read is so easy that any parent, grandparent, or person who cares about a child can do it in a few months. It's not difficult or complicated or mysterious if it is taught in an orderly fashion. You don't have to have a teacher's certificate, any special training, or a college degree. You don't even have to have a high school diploma -- you just have to have the right attitude and the right tools to do the job. [3]

Footnote [1] From the book "The REAL Reason why Johnny Still Can't Read" by Stanley Sharp, Exposition Press, 1982.

Footnote [2] from Jespersen, Skeat, and Baugh "A History of the English Language" p13 ff.

Footnote [3] Phyllis Shalfley - from her writings that were written into the Congressional Record. See also www.EagleForum.org

Footnote [4] Patrick Buchannan in "State of Emergency" (book) Other Related Pages:

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