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Definition of Literacy Essay

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ILY Secretariat (1989) defines literacy as a relative concept, which encompasses a range of reading and writing skills. In international circles, the term basic literacy is used to indicate the ability to read and write your own name. The term functional literacy means the ability to read and write well enough to accomplish simple everyday reading and writing tasks in a particular society. For Australia, the goal of functional literacy in English is essential but not adequate. Literacy involves the integration of listening, speaking, reading, writing and critical thinking; it incorporates numeracy. It includes the cultural knowledge, which enables a speaker, writer or reader to recognise and use language appropriate to different social situation. For an advanced technological society such as Australia’s, our goal must be an active literacy, which allows people to use language to enhance their capacity to think, create and question, which helps them to become more aware of the world and empowers them to participate more effectively in society”. This definition aids in identifying what literacy is and what it means to be literate. ILY Secretariat (1989) also uses this definition to present the notion that literacy is a vital component in creating individuals who can have a positive contribution to society.


ILY Secretariat (1989) presents the ideology that literacy is key to a sustainable society, through the statements that ‘Australia’s goal is to have a active literacy, which helps individuals to become more aware of the world and empowers them to participate more effectively in society’. In conjunction with this statement they also highlight the fact that despite functional literacy being essential to a prosperous society, there...


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...ely contribute to society and increase their own quality of life.



Works Cited

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2013). Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census, 2012–2013. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/2071.0main+features902012-2013

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). Australian social trends. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Chapter6102008

Australian Council for Education Research. (2014). Vocational, Adult and Workplace Education. Retrieved from http://www.acer.edu.au/vawe/low-literacy-and-numeracy-skills-hurt-australians-and-the-economy

ILY Secretariat, 1989, International Literacy Year Paper No. 1, DEET, Canberra

McLaughlin and Pearce. (n.d). Youth engagement strategy. Retrieved from http://education.qld.gov.au/studentservices/behaviour/docs/youth-engagement-strategy.pdf





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