Illiteracy and the Brain

In everyday life, reading seems to take part in one way or another, but just how much impact does reading have on a person? The answer is quite a bit. Reading allows a person to develop fully in more ways than one. To understand the true impact of literacy in our lives we have to look at some of what reading does in our development.

Newer studies seem to suggest that reading impacts the life of a person in ways that you cannot see. For example, reading helps in the increase of connections between the different portions of the brains. As a person reads the book, the left hemisphere of the brain comprehends the words, while the frontal lobe reasons through it. It allows for smoother processing within the brain and fluidity when faced with decisions on a day to day basis. It has also been shown that reading has an impact on motor skills. Motor skills are developed throughout life, but along with reading it may be easier to enhance them.

Reading is helpful in a variety of ways from physical to mental health, but it makes it so much more important to note that many in the world do not have the ability to read (about 26% according to UNESCO). The impact of being able to read is much greater than would be perceived initially. It may be repeated frequently that much of the world’s population does not have the ability to read, but realize that illiteracy is the root to many other problems that could be solved simply by learning to read.

The ‘Changing’ Core

There has been much talk about the Common Core standards within Florida. Since its adoption in 2010, the Common Core standards have been at the center of confusion as well as controversy. The argument over whether or not to keep the standards has come to an almost definite conclusion, that the Common Core standards are on their way to become changed and modified, as well as renamed. In fact this past Monday state officials released 98 proposed changes to the Common Core.

There are many reasons for why the Board of Education for Florida has decided to modify the Common Core. One of the greater reasons is that in the initial creation of the standards, no teachers were incorporated in developing them, which caused the standards to seem better on paper rather than in practice, as some suggest. Another major component of conflict is over the needing to have a cursive writing component, where the Common Core does not have it required.

New suggestions have come out to either go back to the previous standards Florida had or simply to modify the current Common Core addressing some of the issues set forth by critics. Seemingly, the path that State Educators have taken is to modify the current Common Core to become “Florida Standards.” Among the changes is the adjusting of the benchmark, adding cursive writing to the core, and a few other changes. It is notable that these changes for the most part are simply minor ones, and does not drastically hinder from the Common Core.,0,

Cursive and Adult Literacy

cursiveWhen literacy is taught to adults, there is just as much focus on the reading as the writing aspect. Writing has been taught in two mediums in the past, the ability to write print as well as cursive. There is now a debate going on to completely eradicate cursive writing. We are here to look at both the pros and cons and let you decide for yourself whether the form should be eliminated.

Cursive has many benefits associated with it. As new studies emerge on cursive, they are proving that it may indeed be more useful for people to learn the writing form because of the impact it has on the brain. It helps in motor control, sensation, and thinking. This is beyond what simple computer typing does (classified as print).  It has also been found that the certain form of writing is better when used if one is thinking about something, writing, or planning. The act of writing helps to get the thoughts out faster because the style is much more fluid. Another important aspect of cursive is that it was used for most important documents in history: Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, Bill of Rights, and so on. Wouldn’t it be a shame if only specialists in cursive (similar to specialists in reading hieroglyphics) could read these documents and interpret them for the rest of the population?

While cursive has pros, the cons follow right behind it. Cursive takes a lengthy time to learn, and some people just do not have the time to learn cursive. Personally, I was lucky to have learned it at such a young age because a lot of my friends who are now learning cursive have noticed that it is extremely time consuming for them. This is a problem that it takes so much time to learn. Since many people that are learning cursive are also adults, it doesn’t help that they have jobs, and maybe even a family to take care of. Print is easier to learn and is also more readily comprehended by people. The other thing is that cursive is just not as useful as it was in the past. Since most of us use computers, phones, and more writing is in print not cursive, there simply is no need to learn something that will not be useful to a person in the future. They could spend time learning something that would actually benefit them.

Only time will tell if cursive becomes another form of abandoned writing or becomes embraced by the population. There simply is not a demand for cursive anymore as there was once in the past.

For more information about this debate I encourage everyone to look at this video: