Critical Literacy

Literacy is the ability to read, write and comprehend language. It is an ability that many of us take for granted each day. We use that ability almost every minute of the day when we read the newspaper, e-mail, road signs, reader boards, restaurant menus, and cereal boxes. Critical Literacy has become such an innate ability that for many of us it is automatic.

However, according to a recent study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 30 million American adults are considered at a literacy level below basic. This means nearly 30 million adults are unable to comprehend anything beyond the most simple and basic reading.

Literacy is an important part of our daily lives and yet there are millions out there, perhaps family or friends who struggle with the things we take for granted. Illiteracy has a profound effect on their lives. Being unable to read a newspaper is one aspect, but imagine not being able to read doctor’s instructions, voting ballots, street signs, or even the allergen warnings on food packages.

Reading is not just an important part of life, it is an essential need. Illiteracy seems like a great obstacle for someone learning to read at a later age but it doesn’t have to be. Literacy is so important and technology is here to help. Online reading and literacy programs provide a convenient, easy and fun way to learn to read. Such online programs are also excellent for children. The computer age reaches out especially to youth and online literacy programs provide a fun way to learn. Read also the story of Jan Yeh’s Literacy Boosts!

Online reading programs are exciting tools to aid those who seek to overcome illiteracy. These online reading programs use many of the same reading strategies that are used in elementary education and some tools that are unique to the online format. Many online programs teach using phonetics, as do most schools, however, online literacy programs are able to enhance the learning process through the use of short movies, activities, games and guided tutorials.

Visual aids such as movies and games provide interactive reading strategies that are interesting and stimulating. Guided tutorials are self-paced, meaning the student can progress at the tempo he or she feels most comfortable. That comfort translates into a relaxed learning atmosphere in which the student can comprehend without pressure. To enhance literacy development in their children, parents should read also a lot together with the entire family.

Online literacy programs are an excellent addition to reading strategies in schools and volunteer centers. Helping someone learn to read can be a very rewarding experience on a personal level but volunteering to help organize literacy programs is also an important contribution to the local community and greater society. If you’re thinking about becoming a literacy volunteer, check out this post. Even when you’re not qualified for tutoring, you may very well help your local literacy volunteer organization. You may, for example, be perfectly well fit to help your local library or school with helping children to learn how to write and read.

All across the world, many students want to learn to speak, read, and understand English. A great example of how English can be taught can be found in Napa, California, where The Easy English Times is published. The monthly paper has articles on citizenship, current events, and life skills, and also contains posts written on and by students. The pieces appear at various difficulty levels and are readable for a wide array of students and other readers wishing to enhance their literacy skills.

On International Literacy Day, September 8, 2018, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) noted that globally there are 774 million illiterate adults and 75 million illiterate children (check out: Early Childhood Literacy). Illiteracy continues to be an elusive global problem, but in the age of the internet, the battle against illiteracy can be won.