What is Literacy?

​Literacy refers to the ability to make sense of visual representations of language and has traditionally been described as the ability to read and write. Literacy, however, means so much more than how well one reads and writes. In our modern, technologry-driven society, the true definition is much broader and encompasses much more. Literacy includes 9 essential skills: reading text, document use, numeracy, writing, oral communication, working with others, computer use, and continuous learning and thinking skills.    



The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines literacy as:



"The ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society."



This means literacy is the ability to communicate and participate as a fully functioning member of society. The modern definition of literacy has expanded to include everything from reading and writing to numeracy skills, being able to use digital technology, understanding and using all media forms, financial skills, and so much more.

 

When we use this updated, broader, truer definition, it's easy to see just how important literacy is in an individual's everyday life. It is under this understanding that CVALA operates, and why we are so passionate about increasing awareness of the importance of adult education.