The book Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich takes you into the everyday life of lower income families and raises awareness to the unequal pay and struggles they face. It encourages you to make that change. There are a lot of Barbara’s coworkers that can’t read or spell and never went to college so they weren’t able to get better jobs to provide for their families. For Example, Holly one of her coworkers, got pregnant and hurt her ankle on the job. It was a necessity that she kepy working because she needed her next paycheck to take care of herself and her husband. Some days she wouldn’t even eat so that she could save the money and that took a toll on her health and well being. How does literacy really affect people’s lives?

         One way literacy impacts lives is positively. Some people may have grown up on the lower income side but had the opportunity to go to school and worked hard to get into a good college and get a good paying job. Studies show that “Literacy not only enriches an individual’s life, but it creates opportunities for people to develop skills that will help them provide for themselves and their family”(“The importance of education”). Education allows people to learn to read, write and do simple math that will help you with everyday life. You have a better chance of getting a job that provides enough money and support for your family if you have had the education to back it up. 

           Another way literacy impacts people’s lives is negatively. Some families are inherently poor and never come out of it. Some of them never had the opportunity to go to school and learn the basics to provide for their families. “Studies have shown that by age 5, half of the children living in poverty are not academically or socially ready for school”(Garcia). They grow up struggling and never make it out of it. They have to work hard to make money and work long hours everyday and still don’t make as much as a middle class family.

                  In conclusion, this book allows you to see a first hand experience of the hardships people face and encourages you to make a change by doing something as simple as donating or volunteering at shelter’s for those in need. One thing I have taken away from this book is that people don’t understand what it’s like to be in a situation like that until it actually happens to them. People don’t realize how fortunate they are or take in consideration other people around them. Everything is taken for granteed. I want this book to open people’s eyes and make them think about all of the valuable necessities they are provided that might not seem like a big deal to them. For example, the food your parents put on the table every night, the clothes you wear everyday, the roof over your head or the opportunity to go to school. There are people in this country that have hard lives and I think people should be more aware of it.

Works Cited

Garcia, Valeria. “The problem with illiteracy and how it affects us” ReadingPartners.org, 25 July, 2017. https://readingpartners.org/blog/problem-illiteracy-affects-us/ Accessed 19 November, 2019.


“The importance of Education, how literacy affects lives”. Plan-uk.org, 31 March, 2017.plan-uk.org/blogs/the-importance-of-education-how-literacy-improves-lives Accessed                                 19 November, 2019.

Featured Image From: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/books/review/10-best-2007.html

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CC BY-SA 4.0 How does Literacy affect people’s lives? by Lauren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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