Literacy

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literacy
By Richard Nordquist, About.com Guide
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* english language

Literacy: An Introduction to the Ecology of Written Language, 2nd ed., by David Barton (WileyBlackwell, 2006) Definition:
The ability to read and write in at least one language. Adjective: literate. Compare with illiteracy and aliteracy.

See also:
* Basic Writing
* Communication
* International Literacy Day
* Orality
* Phonics
* Reading
* Secondary Orality
* Speech
* Spelling
* Writing
Etymology:
From the Latin, "letter"
Observations:
* "Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depend on literacy.

"Literacy is at the heart of basic education for all, and essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy." ("Why Is Literacy Important?" UNESCO, 2010)

* "The notion of basic literacy is used for the initial learning of reading and writing which adults who have never been to school need to go through. The term functional literacy is kept for the level of reading and writing which adults are thought to need in modern complex society. Use of the term underlines the idea that although people may have basic levels of literacy, they need a different level to operate in their day-to-day lives." (David Barton, Literacy: An Introduction to the Ecology of Written Language, 2nd ed. WileyBlackwell, 2006)

* "To acquire literacy is more than to psychologically and mechanically dominate reading and writing techniques. It is to dominate those techniques in terms of consciousness; to understand what one reads and to write what one understands: it is to communicate graphically. Acquiring literacy does not involve memorizing sentences, words or syllables--lifeless objects unconnected to an existential universe--but rather an attitude of creation and re-creation, a self-transformation producing a stance of intervention in one's context." (Paulo Freire, Education for Critical Consciousness. Sheed & Ward, 1974)

* "There is hardly an oral culture or a predominantly oral culture left in the world today that is not somehow aware of the vast complex of powers forever inaccessible without literacy." (Walter J. Ong, Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. Methuen, 1982)

* "We expect the contradictory and the impossible. . . . We expect to be inspired by mediocre appeals for 'excellence,' to be made literate by illiterate appeals for literacy." (Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, 1961)

* Women and Literacy
"In the history of women, there is probably no matter, apart from contraception, more important than literacy. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, access to power required knowledge of the world. This could not be gained without reading and writing, skills that were granted to men long before they were to women. Deprived of them, women were condemned to stay home with the livestock, or, if they were lucky, with the servants. (Alternatively, they may have been the servants.) Compared with men, they led mediocre lives. In thinking about wisdom, it helps to read about wisdom--about Solomon or Socrates or whomever. Likewise, goodness and happiness and love. To decide whether you have them, or want to make the sacrifices necessary to get them, it is useful to read about them. Without such introspection, women...
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