“Literacy” is an often discussed topic. Be able to read and write is not as simple as it looks; literacy is one of important communication skills in today world. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, “Literacy” means “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society. In other words, a person has the ability to understand and exchange of opinions and views in a society, and thus participate in this society. So if literacy is so important to everyone, then how does the reality look like? We start at very early years to learn reading and writing, so we forget that reading and writing actually are a fairly complex skill, it takes years to learn and memorize. Even in the highest level of civilization country, such as US, the proportion of literate adults has never reached 100%.
According to an article “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society” by Jonathan Kozol, there are 60 million people that are “functionally illiterate” in 1980, and he demonstrate an accurate portrait of the life illiterates live on a day-to-day basis and feel miserable. Even literate people, there are only a small number of people with a high level of reading and writing skills. In human history, the literacy was a privilege. In “Learning to Read and Write” by Frederick Douglass and “Learning to Read” by Malcolm X.
They both demonstrate how important the basic reading and writing skills are and people could use it as a simple tools to impact people and auto gnosis and social change. To be literacy also is very important to people who want to participate in their society and make them life easier. In “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexei and “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan. Both of their stories shows us how reading and writing provide they better future, and how difficult could be without the knowledge of literacy.
So I truly believe in knowledge could change our future, and help us to build the abilities of adopting the society. And more importantly, we absorb and reveal those knowledge need to through by the reading and writing. People has their own future, that is undoubtable; but how to clarify the future is a problem that confusing many of us. Language gives a great contribution to solve this problem. Since getting language can allow people learn things and gain knowledge, it helps people know more of what our society is about and what is good for them.
With these experiences, people will have a better idea of what kind of future they want and create their own dream. Sometimes, this can change a person’s life just like what Malcolm X said in his article “Learning to read”: “I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive. ” In other words, the knowledge form books could impact a person from inside out.
Therefore, language can help people adopt the society by showing them their future. Another ability that language can show people is the ability to fight and defense. People usually use their fists, club, or even gun as a weapon to hurt others, but in modern society with police department to stop these physical violations, what can be better than use the words to beat people. By learning knowledge, language through receive language, people also learn that these things can use to fight and defend in real life.
With leaving an indelible memory in one’s mind, apparently, it is more powerful than healable body damage. Many people include Richard Wright realize its power, Richard even has some words in his essay “The Library Card” said: “Yes, this man was fighting, fighting with words. He was using words as a weapon, using them as one would use a club. ” So, this is another useful effect that language brings to people, protect and fight back. There is another thing people gain form language can help them feel better in the society, which is discovery the truth.
This skill, or ability, can allow people ignore the interferences on the way to success, to achieve a goal, create own future. Throughout the history, many brilliant people fail just because they were direct to a wrong way. Why they never know that? Because they were uneducated or instill something wrong, they were expected to fail. Situation in the past has shown in Sherman Alexei’s “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me” described the difficulties that Indian kids were facing: “As Indian children, we were expected to fail in the non-Indian world. Obviously, language provides people the ability to dig out the real truth behind illusion. Nowadays society, many people are confusing about their futures. Literacy gives a great contribution to solve this problem. At first, literacy can help people adopt the society by showing them their future. Secondly, literacy can show people are the ability to fight and defense themselves. Finally, language provides people the ability to dig out the real truth behind illusion. Literacy is important in keeping you safe and allowing you to learn and grow to better yourself.