The rise of a truly literate class

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I once heard that eighty percent of what we think of today, we thought of yesterday. I enjoy optimizing my world, so increasing the percentage of new thought seems a worthy goal.

Wikipedia lists the United States having a 99.9% literacy rate, citing the CIA World Fact Book. Check the footnote reading that 44 million people (one in seven) can read but not to level of understanding a job application, a food label or utility bill. Consider the fact that when I consider literacy, I do not include this group of 44 million.

Among the educated workforce – college level and above – I routinely witness great disparities in literacy. Being able to read and write are the single most important capabilities of an educated mind and those who write well often read.

Reading is an activity where the brain is engaged. Active readers comprehend the content, exploring what it means. The content influences the formation of language and founds our ability to create more complex conceptual relationships. This complexity adds layers of depth to our thinking and appreciation of the world around us.

Add to the list of what it means to be literate the appreciation of art and music and we get closer to what real literacy is about. There is a texture that only can be felt by wide exposure to new ideas through the mediums of text, images and sound. More importantly is for us to share the pieces of our overwhelming vast and growing collection of media that we believe are of meaningful quality.

The more we read the more we change and the less yesterday’s thinking is today’s.