“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right.... Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man,
woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”
― Kofi Annan
“All over the world there are enormous numbers of smart, even gifted, people who harbor a passion for science. But that passion is unrequited. Surveys suggest that some 95 percent of Americans are “scientifically illiterate.” That’s just the same fraction as those African Americans, almost all of them slaves, who were illiterate just before the Civil War—when severe penalties were in force for anyone who taught a slave to read. Of course there’s a degree of arbitrariness about any determination of illiteracy, whether it applies to language or to science. But anything like 95 percent illiteracy is extremely serious.”
― Carl Sagan
Literacy is, in my opinion, the ability to effectively translate information into thought. I think that, in this definition, the discrepancy between language and information should be made very explicit. The traditional definition of literacy, one of reading and writing, no longer applies in the ways that it did even 20 years ago. Today we see information disseminated in such rapid and un...
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...nstruction, but to guide the process of teaching practitioners. They note that the “on-the-ground” research and testing of teachers is just as important to the process, the instincts of professionals guiding the application in the classroom.
It is my belief that the next 25 years will bring change an order of magnitude more than the changes in the last 25 years, and we as educators need to be on the edge of that change so as to better enable our students to adapt and grow with the times. As such, I see literacy as something so far beyond speaking, reading, and writing. I believe that literacy needs to be thought of as the ability to apply a critical thinking approach (usually associated with the language arts) to any and all information, so as to encourage the making of good decisions in our students and creating a sense of responsibility in both education and life.
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