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March 08, 2013

Mexico: Teaching Children to Read or Not?

illiteracy   Illiteracy is a big issue in almost any country in the world, yet somehow I find it much more disturbing to learn about students who are taught to read but not how to read books and literature. And there is definitely more than one reason why David Toscana's impassioned New York Times article, The Country That Stopped Reading (which discusses the plight of literacy in Mexico), truly hits close to home. I spent a large amount of my time as a child in Mexico, and, having been shortly enrolled in the public school system while there, I have first-hand knowledge of how the educational system in this country works. I know that emphasis was placed on memorization rather than analytic thinking, and I don’t remember at all being encouraged to read literature. To read Toscana’s article as he states: “Once a reasonably well-educated country, Mexico took the penultimate spot, out of 108 countries, in a Unesco assessment of reading habits a few years ago.”, I can’t help but feel a pang. And like many who are Mexican citizens or who consider Mexico a home, I can’t help but ask: How is this possible? And more importantly: What can we do to change this?” Literacy is key to the development of a nation and I can’t help but feel fear for Mexico’s future. What are your thoughts and opinions on this? What do you think can be done to improve the situation? We’d love to hear what you have to say!