The life of illiterates is often a single excuse. They think of everything, so that their "problem" does not stand out. That a ten-year compulsory schooling protects against illiteracy is still a mistake in Germany. Marianne K. (32) had never read a book, instructions for use and leaflets ignored her. When she had to fill out a form with an authority, she asked the clerks to help her because she "forgot" her glasses. She never went on vacation alone and did not know any other street names except the neighborhood where she lived. Marianne could not write much more than her name. She could decipher and transcribe single letters or very short words. In her job as a cleaning lady, this was not noticeable at first. Marianne K. is not an isolated case. Over four million people in Germany can not read and write properly. This is appreciated by the Federal Association for Literacy and Basic Education. They all went to school, but their reading and spelling problems were either ignored, not treated properly, or the sufferers cleverly hid them.
What is illiteracy?
Those who have never learned how to read and write, for example - like many children in developing countries - never went to school fall into the category of primary illiteracy .
Secondary illiteracy includes people who have gone to school and have forgotten to read and write again.
Finally, functional illiteracy is the inability to use everyday writing as it is taken for granted. Functional illiterates are people like Marianne, who recognize letters and can write their names and a few words that either do not understand the meaning of a text or do not understand it easily enough. Illiteracy is a relative term for Peter Hubertus of the Bundesverband Alphabetisierung eV: "Whether a person is considered illiterate depends not only on their individual reading and writing skills, but also on the level of literacy control within the particular society in which they exist Person lives, is expected, if the individual knowledge is lower than the required and taken for granted knowledge is functional illiteracy. "
People in industrialized countries with high literacy requirements must therefore also be considered as functional illiterates if they have limited literacy skills.