Burnaby Neighbourhood House: 4460 Beresford Street, Burnaby, BC, V5H 0B8
Literacy Outreach Coordinator: 604-562-3447

What Is Literacy?

What Is Literacy?

Most of us know literacy is reading and writing, but you might not know it’s more than that. So, what is it? Is it important for life? What types are there? Keep reading to find out.

The Definition of Literacy

In the Oxford Canadian Dictionary, literacy is defined as ‘1. The ability to read and write’, and ‘2. Competence in some field of knowledge, technology, etc.’ It’s not just about reading and writing anymore; its definition has expanded. Now it’s about being knowledgeable and capable in an area.

Is It Important?

Literacy (being capable in an area) is very important. If everyone had high literacy levels in a number of areas, we could avoid and fight local and global problems much more easily. Literacy is about equal chances. Learning about and understanding the world evens the playing field. Think about it. If everyone had strong cultural literacy, conflicts over race and culture would be few and far between. Digital literacy? Increased employability for many. With high levels in many different areas, the world would be fairer. People would be more educated and open to learning new things. Literacy isn’t just the key to a good life, it’s the key to a good society. 

Different Types

Because literacy is being competent in an area, there are a lot of different types. There’s civic, cultural, digital, environmental, family, financial, life, multilingual, physical, and more! Each type plays an important part in our lives.

We can always get better and improve, so if you don’t know much about a certain type, learn about it. Everyone can improve everyday, whether that’s reading with a young child, increasing your physical activity as an adult, or learning to use something online as a senior. There’s surely something you can work on at any stage in your life, so find it and learn!

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