American Immigrants and Literacy
Language is very important in the society because it enables people to communicate with each other and for them to participate meaningfully in the affairs of the society. For first generation immigrants to the United States, however, the problem of literacy and language becomes more pronounced.
These people migrate to the United States for a variety of reasons. It could be because of economic need. Or it may be because the country they came from is in political trouble and there are outright hostilities and war. In this regard, the education needs of these immigrants may not be congruent with what is in the United States.
Since these immigrants entered the US as adults, the challenge to become literate and become expert in the English language is greater than for children. What usually happens is that the parents work incessantly to provide for the family while the children go to school and literate and adjusted to the culture of the US. For adults, however, this is a challenge.
This issue could be addressed using a two-step strategy. The first would be the establishment of non-formal English as second language classes that are based in the communities and would be facilitated by the literate members of the society. This way, there would be greater acceptance and they would be more receptive to a member of their community
. Alongside the non-formal teaching of English as second-language, there should be a functional literacy program. These adult immigrants would be taught specific matters and subjects that they need for their daily lives. They might not need to study calculus and advance literature, but what they need is a working knowledge of the society they are in and how they can make their lives more meaningful in this society.