The Magic of Literacy: What Does Literacy Mean in Education?

If you know me, you know that I think literacy is literally magic. When your child unlocks the magic of literacy they obtain the ability to make a real difference in the world around them. You may be wondering, what does literacy even mean and why is it so important for my child in their education. I am here to tell you that literacy extends beyond education. Literacy is not only about reading and writing. Literacy is the magical thread that is woven into the fabric of our society and it influences everything!

Finding the Magic of Literacy Around You

I want you to take the next 30 seconds to bring attention to your surroundings and look for anything that contains print, pictures, information; anything that requires reading skills to fully understand.

How about things that require writing to support communication between two or more people?

How did you do? Did you find a lot of things? Perhaps you began to add ideas and concepts that are not in your immediate vicinity to your list? I certainly did!

That’s right… Literacy is Everywhere!

Literacy is so pervasive in today’s world, we hardly recognize it’s true presence. It is at the helm of any 21st-century culture that participates in human communication in any form. Literacy is the driving force of human expansion and evolution.

I’d say literacy is super powerful, wouldn’t you?

What does Literacy Mean, exactly?

The dictionary gives literacy the definition: the ability to read and write.

Yes, reading and writing lie at the core of literacy, however, we must think beyond this traditional definition. Literacy is so much more than that.

Literacy is born out of story-telling; the most ancient form of communication among humans. Today’s story-telling mostly occurs in the format of art, drama, literature, digital media, journals, etc. 

Literacy is Consumed Through Your Senses

Once you unlock literacy in your life, you have special powers that are nothing short of magical! Not only do you have the ability to see and understand what you read, but you can also taste it, hear it, feel it… be moved by it! You have the ability to synthesize what you consume, communicate it with others through your own methods of speaking and writing and potentially change their lives!

With literacy skills, you not only have the ability to see what you read but you can taste it, hear it, feel it… be moved by it! You can then synthesize what you read, communicate it with others through speaking and writing,.. all while subconsciously allowing it to alter your vision of the world you are living in.

Literacy is Magic!

Literacy inspires human connection and evokes strength in leadership, problem-solving, and creativity. There has been a recent shift towards looking and thinking beyond the traditional definition of literacy to include more broader interpretations. Here I will include a handful for your consideration. Think Beyond Literacy will expand on these different types of literacy as it grows to ensure you get all the information you need to successfully support and nurture your child’s literacy skills.

Check it Out! Language and the Speed of Sight by Mark Seidenberg

Different Types of Literacy to Consider in Education

  • Digital Literacy: The ability to use digital environments to accomplish goals, communicate ideas, and execute tasks. For more, check out https://learning.mozilla.org/en-US/web-literacy/
  • Media Literacy: The ability to access, synthesize, and critically analyze information found in different types of media. Media literacy includes having the ability to respond to information and use tools to create your own valuable messages for the world. 
  • Cultural Literacy: Having the knowledge of one’s own culture and how to participate fluently within it.
  • Multi-Cultural Literacy: Having knowledge of other cultures and having the ability to gain the perspectives of others.
  • Information Literacy: The ability to read and write information. Moreover, it’s the ability to locate information, critically analyze it, determine its validity, and effectively utilize it. Information literacy is important for fostering creativity, innovation, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.

These are just a handful of the different types of literacy we should be familiar with and to be honest, they should be taken at face value because the way things are advancing, these definitions are bound to change.

Being Multi-Literate is Important in Education

It is crucial for everyone in education to become multi-literate… especially our children. As we start to see different forms of literacy radically emerge through technology, creativity, and innovation, we must understand how to integrate it into the education of our children.

See, literacy is an action. It should not be seen as a set of generalized tools or skillsets a person simply learns and possesses. Literacy is a living, breathing organism. It consists of an ongoing series of actions and transactions between humans in which each individual uses reading and writing as a catalyst. Being literate means being able to problem solve and think critically. It means being able to understand and use social conventions to contribute to our future. 

Think Beyond Literacy in the Educational Sense

With that, I encourage you to look at literacy in education a little differently…

  • To think beyond literacy as just a subject that’s taught in school.
  • To think beyond literacy as something you either win or struggle at; no child should feel the pain of believing they are not good enough.
  • To think beyond standardized testing and prescribed literacy programs that stem from it; programs that hinder innovation, creativity, and human connection in teaching and education efforts.
  • To think beyond textbooks and worksheets; literacy is in the eye of the beholder. To encourage the love of literacy and learning to build a strong sense of self and add value to each other. 

Want to Learn ALL You Can About the Science of Reading on the Brain? Check It Out!

Science of Reading Book Recommendations

Think Beyond Literacy and Educating Parents and Educators

On this website, you will find all the information you need to know about teaching your child how to read and write. This is fundamental!

I will make available to you all that you want to know about the science of reading and how the brain acquires reading and writing skills. You will find information that stems from my experience of successfully teaching literacy to both typical and atypical learners. Along with that, I wish to share information with you from the hours of research I’ve lovingly put into becoming well-versed in literacy and educational practices.

That’s just the beginning! I don’t expect it to stop there. 

I believe what we do as parents and educators begin with a conversation. The power of human connectivity and empathy will be in the driver’s seat. Here we will have conversations about the creative and innovative ways we can show our children [and ourselves] how to embrace literacy emerge.

We must empower our children to make a better world for themselves through literacy …and it starts here!

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