HomeBook ProductionTypographyReadabilityMinistering to the illiterate

O, yes we are!

Here’s some reality orientation for those of you, like me, who write and teach as a major part of your ministry for the Lord. I’ll let the stats speak for themselves. We really need to design easy to read, comfortable to read typography. We need to give our readers all the help we can. Thankfully, InDesign now takes care of most of that for us with only a few simple decisions required on our part.

From caliteracy.org: “Literacy education is a vital part of any society’s educational needs and goals. Around the world, many people cannot read or write a single sentence making the illiteracy rate surprising to some. Typically, in most industrialized nations, the literacy rate of persons over the age of fifteen, is 90 percent or above. However, the definition of literacy can be quite misleading. It has been estimated that while 99% of persons over the age of fifteen in the United States are able to write their names, and read some words, certain studies have estimated that 40 to 50% of adults are functionally illiterate.

The phrase functionally illiterate describes those persons over the age of fiteen who are unable to read well enough to read a daily newspaper and comprehend it, or to read well enough to understand a simple contract, or a basic letter concerning their children’s school needs, or the pamphlets that are enclosed with prescription drugs that explain side effects and precautions.

Certainly, this illiteracy makes it very hard for a person to hold a well paying job, or to care for a family member, and is a contributing factor to poverty. Other studies have demonstrated that the functional illiteracy rates in the United States are not as high as 40 to 50 percent across the population, but the studies do acknowledges that in certain impoverished regions of the country, as many as one-third of the residents are functionally illiterate.”


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