Literacy is the ability to read and write and use written information in a variety of contexts.
- Phonological awareness (i.e. the awareness of what sounds are and how they come together to make words). It includes the ability to rhyme, segment words into syllables and single sounds, blend sounds together, identify sounds in different positions in words and manipulate sounds within words.
- Reading (i.e. the ability to decode written symbols and signs, understand the meaning of words and coordinating these skills together in order to read fluently).
- Spelling (i.e. the ability to arrange letters in the correct order to make words that are communally understood).
- Written communication (i.e. the physical performance of handwriting, typing, spelling, grammar and story planning).
Why is literacy important?
Literacy is important for a child to get through their schooling years, as reading, spelling and writing are required to pass assessments. It is also important in daily life. A lot of information available to us is in written form (e.g. newspapers, books, internet articles, signs). In order to have access to this information a person needs to be able to read.
Reading also aids in the development of language, as it exposes children to new vocabulary and deepens their understanding of the structure of language. The extent to which a student is able to demonstrate their academic ability is significantly reliant on a student’s ability to capture their thoughts in written communication. For each year level and academic task that a student attempts there is usually a prescribed (known) or unwritten expectation of how much should be written, by what means and how to structure that information.
When a child has difficulties with literacy you may notice:
- Avoidance of reading and writing based activities
- Guesses words
- Has a slow, laboured way of reading
- Memorises text
- Writes very short sentences
- Doesn’t like going to school
- Poor attention and concentration
- Negative attitude towards reading/writing leading to
- Low self-esteem