Does Donald Trump Know How to Read?

I worked as an industrial adult educator for twenty years. My teaching credentials were granted by California in 1980. I have dealt with adult literacy on a regular basis teaching adults some pretty complex mechanisms and systems. I trained employees in the Federal regulations governing rail transportation operations (operating rules) and maintenance regulations. My signature was placed on Federal documents as proof the employee met the standard and knew how to do the tasks. I flunked a number of employees who could not read well enough to learn what was expected, or who could not read well enough to take the required tests. I can spot a non-reader in a minute, just by watching how they read and how they respond to simple comprehension questions.

This website (ACP Internist) describes the problem and how to spot it. The following was printed in the April 2000 ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright © 2000 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine. (Emphasis is mine.)

Here are some tips to identify patients with reading problems and how to help them:

Look for signs. The first step is to identify patients who are functionally illiterate: unable to read and understand how to take medications or when to come in for a follow-up appointment. But experts say that identifying illiteracy is not always easy. You can’t depend on appearances; many well-dressed, even articulate patients have literacy problems. “You won’t see illiteracy unless you look for it,” said Dr. Parker.

Fortunately, though, there are some fast, easy ways to help confirm your suspicions that a patient may have literacy problems. Dr. Parker, for example, carries a pill bottle with her. “I take it out and ask patients to read it and tell me how they would take the medication,” she said.

Another technique is to tell your patients you want to test their vision and ask them to read a few sentences from a pamphlet. If they give you the age-old excuse that they left their reading glasses at home, be wary.

Here are a few videos proving the point that tRump does not read very well (or at all):

Uh-Oh: Does Donald Trump Know How to Read? by David Pakman

Note at 8:39, when asked to read a document, he says he needs his glasses.

WOW: Trump Fails Basic Literacy Test by David Pakman

Donald Trump and Literacy by Steve Kaufmann

This leads us to examining the limited (some say as few as 800 words) vocabulary he uses while speaking:

Donald Trump Speaks At A 4th Grade Level

About Terry Welshans

I grew up in Burbank, California. My dad worked at a company that made sub assemblies for about every airplane made in the 1960-1970 era, so it was only natural that the aviation bug bit me while I was quite young. I hold a commercial pilot certificate and fly as much as I can. I live in Bardstown, Kentucky with my wife, moving here after we retired. I am a Vietnam veteran and a cancer survivor. I like to keep politicians honest, and do so when they open an avenue where I feel they have erred.
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21 Responses to Does Donald Trump Know How to Read?

  1. School and Educational psychologists consider the cutting score for funtional illiteracy in an adult to be the fourth grade level.

    Obviously, if a kid is in grade school, reading at the fourth grade level is common. Not so in an adult. I have run some of his speeches and tweets through a grammar and reading comprehension checking program. They all come out at the fourth grade level. One of the things that struck me at first was the limited vocabulary and perseveration. Perseveration is using the same word or phrase repetitively, when other words or phrases would do better. It is the result of an inability to switch from one idea to the next as the social context changes.

    Another tell is the frequent appearance of neologisms; that is, made up words. “Bigly” is an example.

  2. Russell says:

    I cannot disagree with the perception. He certainly gets nervous when he is going to go off script. I am afraid for the USA that we know.

    Good post.

  3. Russell says:

    Hello chuck. I agree with your statements.

  4. wordcloud9 says:

    Remember all the people who said they didn’t vote for Al Gore because he was so smart they didn’t trust him?

    Well, they got what they wanted – someone dumb enough that they can “trust” him.

    Too bad the rest of us get stuck with him too.

  5. rafflaw says:

    Great post and Chuck your response is scary.

  6. Raff, Russell and other lawyers who read this are familiar with the typical jury. I always assumed the jurors selected were the ones who were not smart enough to get out of jury duty. I always gear my testimony for a fourth grade comprehension level. I know better than to use tenth grade words if I want to be credible with the typical juror.

    Just remember, jurors are selected from voter rolls.

    • Terry Welshans says:

      My most difficult task was rewording technical manuals to the 6th grade level. Most manuals require 14th grade reading skills for even average comprehension. Newer equipment that uses computers are even more difficult to understand for a person with limited education. Try explaining boolean math to a base ten person.

      • Russell says:

        Did you know that Trumps sister is a Federal Court of Appeals in NJ. She apparently was appointed by Ronald W. Regean to the Federal District Court in Numerous, and was moved up to the Circuit Court of Appeals by Bill Clinton.

        Sometimes the family genes only go one way.

        • Terry Welshans says:

          One wonders how she would rule on the constitutionality of his EO.

          • Russell says:

            Question, I have is this, generally when someone runs or is elected to office you hear about the relatives. If I hadn’t googled trumps family I would never had known this, am I the only that did not know?

            In answer to your question, I think she would have had to request to be off of the panel. However, I think she would have come to the same conclusion that the 9 Circuit did.

            I wonder if this is why he has such great discontent with the Judiciary.

          • Terry Welshans says:

            News to me as well, Russell.

            My question was a hypothetical one, she would rightfully remove herself from the case, but if not related and could participate, I would only hope she is more of a constitutionalist than her brother.

            Her position must cause him discomfort, that is if he has a conscience (doubtful)

  7. pete says:

    It would explain the extended “prep time” trump needed before giving a scripted speech during the campaign.

    Also this from a Huffpo piece in mid October

    “After winning the GOP nomination, Trump’s campaign decided teleprompters were necessary to keep the famously impatient and rambling Trump on topic and on message. He began giving listless performances while misreading words that flashed across the screens.”

    • Terry Welshans says:

      It also explains why he does not want the Presidents Daily Brief as well. It is a written document, after all.

    • Russell says:


      I read that one of the medication that Trump takes is for his hair. It’s like fennegan or something like that. The side affects are confusion and in some Alzheimer’s Traits.

      • According to his physician, he takes Propecia (generic name = Finasteride)
        Side effects include impotence and problems with ejaculation.

        Other side effects include cold sweats, confusion, dizziness, depression, faintness, and increased risk of cancer, especially breast cancer.

        Redness of skin is also reported.

  8. Russell says:


    All you wanted to know about Trump, but didn’t care if you knew. He even cheated his Dead Brothers children.:

    • Terry Welshans says:

      Thanks Russell. I knew the history of his orangeness and his KKK father, not the others. Using his favorite twitter word concerning his coldness to his brother’s children, SAD, Very SAD.

  9. ann summers says:

    We did know about his sister the jurist even up to the selection of Gorsuch because the other option was on the same bench as her much like he cites her as a “legal qualification”. The emperor always has lots of help to cover up his illiteracy, even if he thinks they can betray him


    • Russell says:


      Thank you. I had already read that, looks like the Liar in Chief sold the islander out in China.

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