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What Literacy Means to Me Essay

What literacy means for me and the impact that it has had on my life. Literacy refers to the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently, and think critically about the written word. The primary sense of literacy still represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from a critical interpretation of the written or printed text. Key to all literacy is reading development, a progression of skills that begins with the ability to understand spoken words and decode written words, and culminates in the deep understanding of text.

Literacy is taught through parents by making reading to your child a regular part of your daily schedule, just as my mother did when I was younger. She would read both early readers and chapter books to me. When reading, she would point to the words as she said them and read slowly. This allowed me to read along with her. Once she noticed that I understood certain words, such as the word “the,” my mother would let me say that word a few times when it appears in the story. This method taught me to be quite an advanced reader by the age of 5 and was heading into kindergarten.

The definition of literacy is a difficult one to answer. When the word literacy comes to mind I think of it first in basic terms of just being able to read, but I know it contains more elements of being just able to read. In my mind literacy as a whole defines the relationship that people have with literature. Just like the way my mother taught me the love of reading, which has continued to grow as I’ve aged and encouraged me to develop a love for chapter books and the stories depicted in them.

I find myself becoming engrossed in these stories and sometimes even comparing them to my own life experiences. Literacy as a whole means the relationship with different types of literature and how well people can comprehend them. There is the basic standard of literacy which would be reading. Then the next step would be how well the reader could comprehend what is being read. Understanding the words written and know most of their meaning. After that it would be how well the reader could analyze the text.

The next step from there would be if the writer could then analyze the text well enough to point out anomalies, binaries, patterns, strands, and any repetition that the literature being read may have. After the interpretation of reading and understanding the literature one should be able to write about it. When writing on the literature the reader should be able to communicate clear decisive thoughts about the text that isn’t already spelled out in the literature. With a sharp focused analytical claim.

This shows that the reader understood the literature and is capable of translating it to others without retelling the literature that has already been read. For me literacy is very important and has a really strong impact in my life. When I was a kid I remember my mother always telling me “the more you know the better it is”. I never really understood what she meant nor did I pay that much attention. Society has proven time and time again, it will reward those individuals who are competent and impede those who are not, whether expressed in terms of employment opportunities or just on a social level.

One needs look no further than their everyday activities in order to realize how important literacy is. Without adequate literary skills one may not be able to identify on a label the correct amount of medicine to give a child, or read and interpret a sign giving instructions on what to do in case of a fire. These two examples bring perspective to literacy’s importance. I discovered that I mainly use text or literacy to communicate with others for maintaining family connections or for work related information.

I use text or literacy for entertainment as well, but I spend far less time using it for work than I do for entertainment. Overall, I think literacy is a very fluid concept—it is ever changing and evolving as we change and as our way of life changes. A generation or two ago, it was merely important to be able to read and write. Now, one must be able to read and write and use technology to be successful in the world. And for this necessary ability, I have my mother to thank for all her hard work teaching me these skills as a young child.


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