All the Things

A blog by Holly Papa.

Tale of Two Houses: How Would Your Life Be Different If You Were Not Literate?

by | Aug 26, 2009 | Blog | 4 comments

I asked the teachers I was working with on Monday morning as part of a professional development presentation on literacy in the content area, ‘How would your life be different if you were not literate?’ My question prompted some good discussions on how our lives would be different.

I then showed them this picture of two model houses that were donated to our local library. Tale of Two Houses

The caption reads

This model was constructed entirely from scraps by an elderly man who did not learn to read until he was 60 years old. The attractive two story house symbolizes a life enriched by reading. The smaller structure, on the other hand, symbolizes a life in disarray due to illiteracy.  . . . The craftsman gave this model to library patron Clark Richards in appreciation for his efforts as a literacy volunteer.

So, How would your life be different if you were not literate?


  1. melissa @ 1lbr

    What an awesome story!

    I’m not sure what to say about how my life would be different. I honestly don’t know how I would even function. I definitely wouldn’t have the job I do now (or the education). What would I do without books? Watch too much TV probably 🙂

  2. Britt, Book Habitue

    Yikes. Not sure I want to think about life without reading. What a scary thought.

    This does bring to mind a quote, though, that one of my high school English teachers had on her wall– “The illiterate of the future will not be those that cannot read, but those that cannot learn.”

    Which is also a freaky thought. But it’s true. I can’t tell you how many students I worked with at Sylvan who’s main problem was their unwillingness to learn, to do the work for themselves. THAT is a true tragedy of our instant-gratification society.

  3. caribookscoops

    Melissa – Yeah my level of functioning would be very low and my life would be drastically different too, not the same job, I’m pretty sure I would not have met my husband either.

    Britt, Book Habitue – Scary for me too, life without reading. That’s interesting about your experience at Sylvan – Definitely instant gratification and unwillingness to learn plays a part in many people’s lives and their lack of success.

  4. Kaylie

    That’s amazing. I can’t think of how my life would be different, not being able to read, but I love the two houses. I’ve met people before who couldn’t read much, and I knew they would never get out of the poverty they were in because of that.


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