Functional illiteracy is reading and writing skills a child is ready for beginning of school training are inadequate “to manage daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills beyond a basic level”. Foreigners who cannot read and write in the native language where they live may also be considered functionally illiterate. This section needs additional citations for verification. Functional illiteracy is imprecisely defined, with different criteria from nation to nation, and study to study.
However, a useful distinction can be made between pure illiteracy and functional illiteracy. Purely illiterate persons cannot read or write in any capacity, for all practical purposes. For example, an illiterate person may not understand the written words of cat or dog, may not recognize the letters of the alphabet, and may be unable to write their own name. In contrast, a functionally illiterate person may well understand these words and more, but might be incapable of reading and comprehending job advertisements, past-due notices, newspaper articles, banking paperwork, complex signs and posters, and so on. The characteristics of functional illiteracy vary from one culture to another, as some cultures require better reading and writing skills than others.
A reading level that might be sufficient to make a farmer functionally literate in a rural area of a developing country might qualify as functional illiteracy in an urban area of a technologically advanced country. In developed countries, the level of functional literacy of an individual is proportional to income level and inversely proportional to the risk of committing crime. Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Three out of four individuals who receive food stamps read on the two lowest levels of literacy. 16-to-19-year-old girls at the poverty line and below with below-average reading skills are 6 times more likely to have out-of-wedlock children than their more literate counterparts. In the United States, according to Business magazine, an estimated 15 million functionally illiterate adults held jobs at the beginning of the 21st century. Fortune 500 companies provide some level of remedial training for their workers.
The National Center for Education Statistics provides more detail. Literacy is broken down into three parameters: prose, document, and quantitative literacy. Each parameter has four levels: below basic, basic, intermediate, and proficient. Every year, 100,000 pupils leave school functionally illiterate in the UK. A Literacy at Work study, published by the Northeast Institute in 2001, found that business losses attributed to basic skill deficiencies run into billions of dollars a year due to low productivity, errors, and accidents attributed to functional illiteracy.
Sociological research has demonstrated that countries with lower levels of functional illiteracy among their adult populations tend to be those with the highest levels of scientific literacy among the lower stratum of young people nearing the end of their formal academic studies. Data Files from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy”. Archived from the original on 2010-12-12. SASE – Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics Archived 2006-06-29 at the Wayback Machine. This page was last edited on 29 November 2017, at 05:36. What Are the Benefits of Strength Training?