I’m a copywriter. Here’s one of my worst fears

Alice Hollis

Alice Hollis Ltd. - More than words®

It was yet another wet, brisk morning.

I was standing just inside the pencil crayon fence, hoping it would shelter me from the fine rain that was covering my glasses and blinding me. I was holding hands with Oscar, listening to him singing ‘The journey home from grandpa’s’ while Jacob was pleading with me to go to the Reading Café after school.

Then, from across the playground, another mummy approached me…

“Can you tell me what that sign says please, I can’t read.”

Those 3 little words – “I can’t read” – have left me feeling sick for weeks. How can you get to adulthood and not know how to read? How has society let you fall between the cracks so badly?

Needing to find out more, I was disturbed to discover that in England, 1 in 6 adults are ‘functionally illiterate’.

According to the National Literacy Trust, this means, “they can understand short straightforward texts on familiar topics accurately and independently, and obtain information from everyday sources, but reading information from unfamiliar sources, or on unfamiliar topics, could cause problems.”

Take a moment to imagine it…

A world where you’re deprived of the opportunity to apparate into another world, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Harry to fight the forces of darkness. Or venturing around the world in 80 days. Or undertaking a journey that will see you face great hardship in your bid to return the precious to its rightful home…

A world where it doesn’t matter how many ingredients you have, because you can’t read the recipe, so you’ll never be able to replicate one of Jamie’s 30-minute meals, bake a birthday cake, or enjoy one of @EJCownley’s slow cooker suppers…

A world where you won’t ever benefit from the insight and wisdom shared through #ContentClubUK or #Write52

A world where you risk drinking coffee that isn’t caffeinated because you don’t understand the word ‘decaf’, or eating cake that contains carrots…

A world where you don’t understand signs, instructions or dosages…

And a world where at the end of every night, you can’t cuddle up with your babies and read them a bedtime story about the cat in the hat, poo in the zoo, or how a sausage went for a walk one day…

As a copywriter, words make my world. To take that from me would be the most horrifying nightmare of them all.

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