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Online Reading - Technology That Aids Literacy

Literacy is the ability to read, write and comprehend language. It is an ability that many of us take for granted each day. We use that ability almost every minute of the day when we read the newspaper, e-mail, road signs, reader boards, restaurant menus and cereal boxes. Literacy has become such an innate ability that for many of us it is automatic. However, according to a recent study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 30 million American adults are considered at a literacy level below basic. This means nearly 30 million adults are unable to comprehend anything beyond the most simple and basic reading.

Literacy is an important part of our daily lives and yet there are millions out there, perhaps family or friends who struggle with the things we take for granted. Illiteracy has a profound effect on their lives. Being unable to read a newspaper is one aspect, but imagine not being able to read doctor's instructions, voting ballots, street signs, or even the allergen warnings on food packages. Reading is not just an important part of life, it is an essential need. Illiteracy seems like a great obstacle for someone learning to read at a later age but it doesn't have to be. Online reading and literacy programs provide a convenient, easy and fun way to learn to read. Such online programs are also excellent for children. The computer age reaches out especially to youth and online literacy programs provide a fun way to learn.

Online reading programs are exciting tools to aid those who seek to overcome illiteracy. These online reading programs use many of the same reading strategies that are used in elementary education and some tools that are unique to the online format. Many online programs teach using phonetics, as do most schools, however online literacy programs are able to enhance the learning process through the use of short movies, activities, games and guided tutorials. Visual aids such as movies and games provide interactive reading strategies that are interesting and stimulating. Guided tutorials are self paced, meaning the student can progress at the tempo he or she feels most comfortable. That comfort translates into a relaxed learning atmosphere in which the student can comprehend without pressure.

Online literacy programs are an excellent addition to reading strategies in schools and volunteer centers. Helping someone learn to read can be a very rewarding experience on a personal level but volunteering to help organize literacy programs is also an important contribution to the local community and greater society. On International Literacy Day, September 8, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) noted that globally there are 774 million illiterate adults and 75 million illiterate children. Illiteracy continues to be an elusive global problem, but in the age of the internet, the battle against illiteracy can be won.