“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.” Charles William Eliot
Literacy is most defined as the ability to read and write. But it is not as simple as it sounds. Reading and writing abilities vary across different cultures and contexts, and these too are constantly shifting. Nowadays, ‘reading’ encompasses complex visual and digital media as well as printed material. An elderly person who can read the newspaper might struggle to get information from Google.
Similarly, different cultures will have different perceptions of literacy. The writing traditions of the English language make reading comprehension an essential part of literacy, but this might not be as important in cultures or groups that rarely read printed material.
Why is literacy important?
Students need literacy to engage with the written word in everyday life. Think of how often you use your own reading skills in everyday life. It is not just articles like this one that require literacy, but signs, labels, and the messages on your phone, too. The same goes for writing. Nowadays, even phone calls have given way to instant messaging and text-based communication, making the ability to read even more important.
But beyond the functional level, literacy plays a vital role in transforming students into socially engaged citizens. Being able to read and write means being able to keep up with current events, communicate effectively, and understand the issues that are shaping our world. The International Literacy Day is an annual celebration announced by UNESCO, which is celebrated on the 8th of September every year. Literacy Day is celebrated to shed light on global literacy issues and the need to make the world Literate. The theme for International Literacy Day 2020 will focus on teaching and learning during COVID-19 crisis and beyond with a focus on the role of educators.
Ways in which Symbio Energy supports literacy development
Literacy development should be a combined effort between home and school. The world is home to many illiterate countries that struggles to perform basic tasks due to the absence of literacy within their community. Symbio Energy actively supports and aims at bringing about awareness towards the importance of being literate.
Here are a few things Symbio Energy suggests you can do to support early learners’ literacy skills:
Encourage reading - Reading is the first pillar of literacy, so encourage young learners to immerse themselves in it frequently and deeply. This should involve exposure to a broad variety of different genres, such as newspapers, novels, comics, magazines, films, reference material, and websites.
Discuss texts together - Actively discussing what has been read encourages learners to make connections and think deeply about the ideas contained in texts. Follow up the reading or viewing of a text with a discussion of what it made learners think and feel.
Use games and activities that support literacy development – Create and innovate games and activities supporting the use of reading and writing, help enhance a young child’s literacy score.
Make use of the library – Make use of the school, local or public libraries and instil the need to visit the library. The various tools available at the library such as books, puzzles etc can actively boost the literacy of a child.
There are many literacy programs throughout the country that are specifically intended for people with low literacy skills. Participation in such programs can open the way to further education.
Overall, these examples demonstrate that ability to read can open many opportunities for adults. Employment, education, and ability to uphold one’s rights are probably the main reasons why people should learn to read. Nonetheless, one should not forget that professional growth and self-development can also be very strong stimuli for acquiring or improving literacy skills. Therefore, people with poor literacy skills should actively seek help to have a more fulfilling life.