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Editorial

Literacy too often neglected by students

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February 12, 2010

In the United States, literacy is defi ned as being over age 15 and being able to read and write. If national standards say that by the age of 15 a person should be able to read and write, it is baffl ing that at the University level, it appears that so many people struggle with the basics of reading and writing.

It has become apparent to the Student Voice Editorial Staff that the comprehension of grammatical basics at UW-River Falls can be lacking sometimes. From students’ papers for classes to organizationsí signs posted around campus, errors in literacy can be found quite frequently.

With UWRF being visited often by potential students and families, prestigious visitors and other Universities’offi cials, it is important that this University make a positive impression on these prospects. When signs are posted around the University Center with ill-placed commas, incorrect spellings and improperly capitalized letters, UWRF takes the heat, looking unintelligent and poorly educated. After all, what’s the point of being on this campus to receive a higher education when youíre not educated to begin with?

In addition to the public displays of poor English, students seem to be choosing to personally disregard the fact that strong reading and writing skills are the two most important talents they will need to possess when they graduate from college. Not only is it key to be able to throw together an impressive resume and cover letter, but it will be rare to fi nd an employer who fi nds run-on sentences and lower cased proper nouns amusing and cute.

With several resources available on campus—such as the Writing Center, Academic Success Center and personal tutors—there really is no excuse for students to turn in papers that lack coherent thought. In addition to resources that help students with writing specifi c to courses they’re taking, Career Services offers help with professional documents, like resumes and cover letters. With today’s technology-dependent world, acronyms are becoming more and more common in casual written conversation, thanks entirely to text and instant messaging. If ‘LOL’, ‘BRB’, ‘TTYL’ and any of their relatives are used in scholarly writing of any sort, it can be guaranteed that the brain power behind said writing will be heavily questioned.

Going hand-in-hand with poor writing skills, it can be said that college-aged students lack proper speaking skills, and again, heading into the ìreal worldî will require that professional speaking is natural and fl uid. ‘Um’ and ‘like’ will not make an otherwise dull interview shine, and curse words casually thrown into sentences will for sure forfeit a second interview.

As college graduates venture into the world of ìgrown-upsî and careers, basic skills they acquired in elementary school and sharpened throughout their higher education shouldnít be forgotten. Reading, writing and speaking are key to proper and functional communication and always will be.