“Literacy—the ability to access, evaluate, and integrate information from a wide range of textual sources—is a prerequisite not only for individual educational success but for upward mobility both socially and economically,” states Sean Reardon (18). Literacy plays a significant role in civilized society. As Reardon mentioned, literacy is an important part of social and economic progression; therefore, it is unsurprising that thousands of dollars are poured into the education system each year to ensure that students can be considered literate. Reardon continues on to claim, “by third grade virtually all students can “read” in the procedural sense—they can sound out words and recognize simple words in context” (20). However, simply being able to read the written word is no longer enough. In modern times, the meaning of literacy has changed. The meaning of literacy has been expanded over the years to include visual literacy in order to adapt to the influx of information that has enabled man to reach greater widths of knowledge with less depth because of the change in available resources.
In the past, literacy has been focused around reading and interpreting written scripts. A mere generation ago, literacy was generally focused around solely reading physical materials. Susan Metros emphasizes that most of the teachers employed in schools are from a generation that was largely based around the written word (106). Literacy was a rather simple concept. As Reardon states, “At its simplest, [literacy] is a combination of word reading skills and knowledge-based literacy competencies” (18). To put it simply, if a person could read and understand what he or she was reading, he or she could be considered litera...
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Not so long ago, literacy was based around the written word – newspapers, books, magazines, etc. The previous generation only had to be able to understand written texts to be considered literate. However, times have changed and many developments have occurred along with a development in literacy. Literacy in today’s world must now be expanded to include the visual expanse of the internet. The internet presents its information in a different way than sources have previously by using images and audios. The internet allows people to easily access and gain knowledge from a wide spread of sources and information as well as changes the way people learn. As times and technologies have changed, literacy has positively adapted to include visual literacy which has, in turn, broadened intellectual horizons and changed the way people learn and understand.
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