15 November 2009

I can read but she can't sing

The CIA World Factbook says that the United States literacy rate is 99% (Other sources say it is at around 86%). After teaching for years, I beg to differ. I have come across so many struggling readers (and I teach high school) that I believe the functional literacy rate is actually lower. But I still believe that there are many people in this country who are literate enough to read basic material.

Which is why, I cannot understand why people at churches seem to be interested in leading the songs in a manner as though they believe their parishioners are illiterate.

I have seen this many times, most recently today at my parents' church. Everyone in the congregation has the handout with the song lyrics. Everyone (or at least the majority) know how to read.

The lyrics are written in the order we will sing them. The chorus is even retyped at the end of each verse.

Yet, after each verse, the lady leading the singing says the first lines of the next verse right before the people in the audience are to sing them.


Her saying the first 5 words of the next verse does not suddenly help us know where we are on the paper -- we are already there.

We can read.

We all have the paper in front of us.

It is so annoying. Almost as annoying as the tone-deaf woman who sat in front of me who also seems to be volume-deaf as she sings so loud that the horrible sound of her voice is actually quite distracting and is not a joyful noise being lifted to any god.


  1. I hear you Ms. Ibe on the literacy thing. I'm in college and I still see it. The other day my psych professor gave us a handout, by the time she had handed them out I already had my hand raised wanting to know what the assignment was, she told me to wait until everyone else was done reading, I never thought that would happen in college. -Tony

  2. I don't what the spooks at the door had in mind with that 99% number; they must be counting the ability to read an eye chart as literacy.

  3. LOL! I don't even think that percentage of people can see the charts -- not sure where the CIA comes up with that number except that they are trying to look better than other nations.


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