LITERACY

Life and learning are the fruits of literacy.

When I was a boy, school was about the 3Rs. Reading, Riting and Rithmetic. Looking back on how that schooling affected me, it was more like 3Ls. Learning, Literacy and Life because now I see that literacy is the root of life-long learning. It's a hierarchical process.

Remember—recall facts and information you've learned.
Understand—comprehend what the information means.
Implement—apply the information to solve a problem.
Analyze—break down information into component parts
Evaluate—judge value and relevance of the information.
Create—synthesize new information by combining parts.

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READING

A child who reads will become an adult who thinks. [Sasha Salmina]

Reading plays a crucial role in how we acquire knowledge. Reading Books stimulates curiosity and discussion, thinking and reflection, empathy and imagination.

Even simple, everyday things require the ability to read. If you need a car to get to work, buy groceries and shop for supplies, you'll need a drivers license, and that means being able to identify the letters on an eye chart, answer questions on the driving test and read road signs.

No hablo ingles? No problem, the test in most states is now in Spanish. I learned to speak Spanish to be friends with the Hispanic boys and girls I met in school, not to encourage them to reciprocate by learning English. But English is the world's Lingua Franca, and learning how to read and write it is the first and most essential step toward assimilating yourself into the American way of life.

WRITING

Writing is talking on paper, speaking with a pencil or a keyboard.

Writing plays a crucial role in how we share knowledge with others and communicate our thoughts and feelings. Writing Memoirs for example is a powerful way to connect the dots between yesterday and today and reveal a path into tomorrow.

Even everyday activities require the ability to make sense with Words written for others to read. Our Wireless connection with others over the Internet and our cell phones is typically an abbreviated form of writing but it still requires the ability to form clear sentences and phrases somebody besides yourself will understand.

If your job requires you to write reports and other documents, writing plays a crucial role in your career. In some companies, you are known only by what you write and how you write it. Good writing reflects good thinking, and your boss will notice.

ARITHMETIC

Learning math is good for your brain.

Performing basic arithmetic calculations will improve your problem-solving skills because doing them fosters better reasoning abilities. And you'll earn more money because doing math makes you smarter and more productive. Your boss will notice.

Okay, so you skipped math because you knew you'd be driving a backhoe for your father when you graduated. But two years later an on-the-job injury prevented you from operating heavy equipment. So you struggled to balance your job at Karl's Junior with your family and six grueling years of night school to pursue your childhood Dream of becoming an architect. Now and then you drop into Karl's Junior to buy a hamburger and fries. But you grin instead of groan because now you have enough money to buy the place if you wanted to.

Even simple tasks like balancing your budget or preparing a meal require a basic understanding of math. You won't need calculus to adjust a recipe for 4 people if 8 people are coming for dinner. But math will be required if 10 people are coming. How do you get from 4 to 10? Don't ask me. I can't boil water without burning it, and I forgot the recipe for ice years ago.