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  1. #1
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    Smile Fantasia learning to read

    Fantasia, American Idol winner, is illiterate but learning!
    This made me smile that she still wants to learn. Cheers to Fantasia!


    Updated: 6:57 p.m. ET Oct. 1, 2005
    NEW YORK - "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino reveals in her memoirs that she is functionally illiterate and had to fake her way through some scripted portions the televised talent show, which she won in 2004.

    "You're illiterate to just about everything. You don't want to misspell," Fantasia told ABC's "20/20." "So that, for me, kept me in a box and I didn't, wouldn't come out."
    More at link...
    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9556438/

  2. #2
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    A high profile person like her discussing literacy will encourage the many, many others out there to learn. The number of illiterate people (who function, work, contribute to society) is staggering.

  3. #3
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    I applaud her for her relevation and the effort to learn how to read.

    But, I have to ask this: How can someone go through a school system and no one notice or offer remedial eduction to a person who does not know how to read.

    How can this happen in the USA, is no one not noticing when essays, papers, tests, assignments are handed out and handed in.

    I just can't figure this out.....really I can't

  4. #4
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    It's called social promotion.

    I used to be a Literacy volunteer and I can tell you that most functionally illiterate people are very clever at hiding their shameful secret. They listen and memorize. They cope. If they could use the energy they expend on hiding on better pursuits, it would be awesome!

    CHEERS to Fantasia!! When a high-profile person comes out of the illiteracy closet, it does a world of good for others who just need a nudge to ask for help. Good for her!

  5. #5
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    I have a book around here somewhere entitled The Teacher Who Couldn't Read. This social studies teacher had a masters degree and taught for twenty years before admitting he couldn't read.

  6. #6
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    To be "functionally illiterate" is to read at a 4th grade level or below (as an adult). I teach 11th grade in a large county school (there are about 2100 students). Most of my students who are in college prep classes read several grades below their expected reading level, but they are at 7th/8th/9th/10th grade levels (some are at level or above). The majority of my regular students, those who will go from school to work with little or no higher-level education, read below 4th grade level. Some at 1st- or 2nd-grade level. One year I had one boy score so low on the reading assessment that he couldn't even be graded.

    If all of these children were getting help in reading in some way -- pulled out into special ed classes just for reading -- that would be wonderful. But they are not. They come from illiterate homes, they will become illiterate adults, and their children will likely be illiterate, also.

    I am probably the only person in America who doesn't watch American Idol (we don't watch TV at my house), but I am proud of this Fantasia person for learning to read as an adult. I wish more of my students would see the importance of literacy.

    There. That is my two cents.

  7. #7
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    I remember when I was senior in High school, in one class, when we had to take a test, one kid had to sit up at the teachers desk so that the teacher could read him the test questions.

    He graduated just like the rest of us.

  8. #8
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    When was this? Now they don't make the child sit in the room with other students. The child is pulled from the class and taken to a resource room to have tests read. Also, when a student can't write, s/he can use a computer program in which the student speaks into the computer and the computer registers the words and "writes" them down.

    While I know this is all well and good -- if a child needs help, s/he should get help -- I wonder if these programs are ultimately deterring students from being responsible for their own learning. In the state where I teach, students are required to pass a standardized state test before receiving their diploma. The test is administered first in 10th grade, then can be retaken as needed. If a student is having the test read to him, how is that an indicator of the student's knowledge?

  9. #9
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    It was in the late 70's. The young men graduated and went directly into the army.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberLaw
    But, I have to ask this: How can someone go through a school system and no one notice or offer remedial eduction to a person who does not know how to read.

    How can this happen in the USA, is no one not noticing when essays, papers, tests, assignments are handed out and handed in.
    It happens all of the time. I teach college and I have incoming freshmen -- lots of them -- who are reading and writing well below their level. I am constantly confounded as to how these kids graduated from HS. Our college now has all kinds of remedial classes and tutoring to deal with the increasing numbers of young adults who are coming out of the public school system unable to read and/write effectively. Most of my paper grading (for anthropology courses) is devoted to correcting basic grammar, spelling, etc. Many college students are unable to read maps as well since geography is also neglected. Scary thought: All those children not being left behind are going to be running the country some day.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypros
    It happens all of the time. I teach college and I have incoming freshmen -- lots of them -- who are reading and writing well below their level. I am constantly confounded as to how these kids graduated from HS. Our college now has all kinds of remedial classes and tutoring to deal with the increasing numbers of young adults who are coming out of the public school system unable to read and/write effectively. Most of my paper grading (for anthropology courses) is devoted to correcting basic grammar, spelling, etc. Many college students are unable to read maps as well since geography is also neglected. Scary thought: All those children not being left behind are going to be running the country some day.
    I have had the same experience as an English professor. I would often find myself, in Freshman courses, explaining the very same things to my students that my elementary-school-aged children were currently learning. I had many students admit that they had never read any book or article before. There's lots of support on campuses these days, though, so many students can get up to speed by the time they're upperclassmen.

  12. #12
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    It astounds me how colleges are offering support and remedial classes now. I'm conflicted on the issue. One the one hand, yes, I think it's good that people who need help in college can get it (I'm not talking about tutoring -- I'm talking about remedial support). On the other hand, how did they get into college in the first place if they have such problems with reading and writing? The college where my husband teaches offers a remedial writing/reading course that is required for students who score below a certain level on their entrance exam essay. They must stay in the course until they pass it; I know one of the instructors, and she has some of the same problems -- discipline problems, even -- that I have in my lower-level high school classes. It makes me wonder: is college the right place for these people? Does having a college degree mean the same as it did 20+ years ago?

    I'm an educator, and I have a lot of problems with the education system in America today. It bothers me that people don't read anymore, that it is not a revered pasttime. The number 1 magazine in America is TV Guide; more households in America have televisions than have indoor plumbing! Many of my own students over the years have seemed proud of the fact that they've never read a book. Their favorite quote is "Why read the book when I can see the movie?"

    It isn't just reading and writing, either. Comprehension -- it's not enough to be able to read the words; you have to understand the meaning. Critical thinking -- I see less and less of this skill as the years go by.

    Sorry for ranting. This is a sore spot with me. I often feel as if I'm teaching to a brick wall. Students don't care, parents aren't supportive (of teachers -- they'll do anything for their kids, including homework, reports, etc.), and administration is too busy with numbers and facts (schools get report cards, too) to worry about if there is any actual learning going on in the classroom.



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