INTRODUCTION: Definitions of Literacy
definitions below. Decide which one seems to you to be the
best definition of literacy. The definitions are phrased
in terms of what a person should be able to do to be
sign his/her name
read/write a simple sentence describing one's daily
read and write, by his/her self-report (not based on a
pass a written test of reading comprehension at a level
comparable to that achieved by an average student at
engage in all those activities in which literacy is
required for effective functioning in his/her community
chosen definition the "best" one? Stop and think before
happens, several of these definitions, or variants of
them, have been preferred at some point by some countries
as "official" definitions of literacy, at least for
reporting data to international agencies. Each country had
reasons for its choice. As will be discussed later, there
is no one right answer to the question posed. This will
become clearer once we discuss the implications of such
definitions for assessment.
what is literacy?
definitions presented earlier assume that, to be
considered "literate," a person has to be able to cope
with some reading and/or writing tasks. Yet, what level or
type of reading and writing skills are needed?
definitions of literacy differ in several ways. For
example, some imply that literacy is static or absolute;
once you are able to sign your name, or finish a certain
grade level, you are considered "literate." Other
definitions (which are now accepted by most educators and
organizations) view literacy as dynamic or relative; they
assume literacy should be defined only within a certain
context of functioning, which may change from one
country/culture to another, or over time. Some definitions
also include as part of literacy other mental skills, such
as numeracy and problem solving.
line is that literacy is not a simple concept with a
single, accepted meaning.
What is illiteracy
? : There is often a confusion between illiteracy, analphabetism,
mutism, autism, school (or mental) retardation.