Introduction to Literacy
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According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, literacy can be been defined as the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. As an individual is introduced to the concept of literacy, it becomes evident that the scope of what ‘literacy’ means has expanded beyond the ability to simply write and read. An individual must possess the capability to interpret written and verbal communication while discerning the meaning of the content simultaneously. Paulo Freire who was honored by the UNESCO stated that a viable way to introduce literacy to an individual is through cultural actions relevant to the learner. Freire thought it best to encourage the learner to question why things are the way they are and to formulate a way that the individual could make it better.
As more research and findings were developed over the years, literacy included the concept of “basic learning needs” which allowed cross over into the education of children, youth and adults. Through the introduction of literacy programs, there is a positive impact on health, population growth, and reducing social conflict overall. Over the years, literacy has expanded to include information technology and communication technology, as well as critical literacy. With each expansion comes more knowledge and understanding further validating that literacy is fluid.