What is literacy?

Literacy is the ability to read, view, write, design, speak and listen in a way that allows you to communicate effectively. The power of literacy lies not just in the ability to read and write, but rather in a person’s capacity to apply these skills to effectively connect, interpret and discern the intricacies of the world in which they live.


The changes that the English language has undergone over the course of history is staggering. The past decade alone has seen students’ literacy repertoire extend beyond the traditional pillars of reading, comprehension, grammar and writing, to include digital and interactive applications.  With today’s learners faced with a myriad of traditional and digital literacies, how can parents ensure that their children develop the skills to effectively navigate and decipher the constant information stream that surrounds them? Please see 'Let’s Read Them a Story! The Parent Factor in Education' for more information on ways that you can support your child's literacy development: 


Why is literacy so important?


Today, many children are being classed as ‘digital natives’ – just as comfortable online as they are offline. The internet enables endless educational possibilities, with constantly evolving information streams. However, the vastness of the internet can be a hindrance to those children who cannot effectively sift through and interpret the material presented. Strong literacy skills are a key tool used when children discern and interpret information, enabling them to utilise the internet to its full potential and ensuring that the inevitable ‘digital footprint’ that children will leave, is one that is safe, appropriate, and reflective of their true self.


Longitudinal research shows that people with good literacy skills are more likely to have higher self-esteem, better health, better jobs and higher wages than those with poor literacy skills. They are more able to take advantage of the opportunities that life may offer them.