|Part of a series on|
Literacy in its broadest sense describes "particular ways of thinking about and doing reading and writing" with the purpose of understanding or expressing thoughts or ideas in written form in some specific context of use. In other words, humans in literate societies have sets of practices for producing and consuming writing, and they also have beliefs about these practices. Reading, in this view, is always reading something for some purpose; writing is always writing something for someone for some purpose. Beliefs about reading, writing and their value for society and for the individual always influence the ways literacy is taught, learned, and practiced.
Some researchers suggest that the study of "literacy" as a concept can be divided into two periods: the period before 1950, when literacy was understood solely as alphabetical literacy (word and letter recognition); and the period after 1950, when literacy slowly began to be considered as a wider concept and process, including the social and cultural aspects of reading and writing and functional literacy.
Other definitions and uses of the term "literacy"
The diversity among the definitions of literacy used by NGOs, think tanks, and advocacy groups since the 1990s suggests that this shift in understanding from "discrete skill" to "social practice" is both ongoing and uneven. Some definitions remain fairly closely aligned with the traditional "ability to read and write" connotation, whereas others take a broader view:
- The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (USA) included "quantitative literacy" (numeracy) in its treatment of literacy. It defined literacy as "the ability to use printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential". It included three types of adult literacy: prose (e.g. a newspaper article), documents (e.g. a bus schedule), and quantitative literacy (e.g. use of arithmetic operations in a product advertisement).
- In 2015, the United Nations Statistics Division defined the youth literacy rate as "the percentage of the population aged 15–24 years who can both read and write with understanding a short simple statement on everyday life".
- In 2016, the European Literacy Policy Network defined literacy as "the ability to read and write ... in all media (print or electronic), including digital literacy".
- In 2018, UNESCO includes "printed and written materials" and "varying contexts" in its definition of literacy; i.e. "the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts".
- In 2019, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in its PIAAC adult skills surveys, includes "written texts" in its definition of literacy; i.e. "the ability to understand, evaluate, use and engage with written texts in order to participate in society, achieve one's goals, and develop one's knowledge and potential". Also, it treats numeracy and problem solving using technology as separate considerations.
- In 2021, Education Scotland and the National Literacy Trust in the UK included oral communication skills (listening and speaking) under the umbrella of literacy.
- As of 2021, the International Literacy Association (Newark, Delaware, US) uses "the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, compute, and communicate using visual, audible, and digital materials across disciplines and in any context".
- The expression "reading literacy" is used by the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) which has monitored international trends in reading achievement at the fourth grade level since 2001.
- Other organizations might include numeracy skills and technology skills separately but alongside of literacy skills; still others emphasize the increasing involvement of computers and other digital technologies in communication that necessitates additional skills (e.g. interfacing with web browsers and word processing programs, organizing and altering the configuration of files, etc.).
The concept of multiliteracies has gained currency, particularly in English Language Arts curricula, on the grounds that reading "is interactive and informative, and occurs in ever-increasingly technological settings where information is part of spatial, audio, and visual patterns (Rhodes & Robnolt, 2009)".[verification needed] Objections have been raised that this concept downplays the importance of reading instruction that focuses on "alphabetic representations". However, these are not mutually exclusive as children can become proficient in word-reading while engaging with multiliteracies.
- Computer literacy – Skill in using computers and digital technology
- Statistical literacy – Ability to understand and reason with statistics and data
- Critical literacy – Ability to find embedded discrimination in media
- Media literacy – Analyses regarding production agendas, representation, propaganda, censorship, bias
- Ecological literacy – Ability to understand natural systems and their interactions
- Disaster literacy[definition needed]
- Health literacy – Ability to understand healthcare information
- Linguistic (i.e. language) literacy[clarification needed]
- Social literacy – Literacy gained through social interactions
- Quantitative literacy aka numeracy – Ability to apply numerical concepts
- Visual literacy – the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image , e.g. body language, pictures, maps, and video
Social and cultural elements of literacy
The traditional concept of literacy widened as a consensus emerged among researchers in composition studies, education research, and anthropological linguistics that it makes little sense to speak of reading or writing outside of some specific context, with linguist James Paul Gee describing it as "simply incoherent." For example, even the extremely early stages of acquiring mastery over symbol-shapes takes place in a particular social context (even if that context is "school"), and, after print acquisition, every instance of reading or writing will be for a specific purpose and occasion with particular readers and writers in mind. Reading and writing, therefore, are never separable from social and cultural elements. A corollary point, made by David Barton and Rosalind Ivanić, among others, is that the cognitive and societal effects of acquiring literacy are not easily predictable, since as Brian Street has argued, "the ways in which people address reading and writing are themselves rooted in conceptions of knowledge, identity, and being." Consequently, as Jack Goody has documented, historically literacy has included the transformation of social systems that rely on literacy, and the changing uses of literacy within those evolving systems.
- Inability to use reading, writing, and calculation skills for their own and their community's development.
- Inability to read well enough to manage daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills beyond a basic level.
- Inability to understand complex texts despite adequate schooling, language skills, elementary reading skills, age and IQ.
It is distinguished from primary illiteracy (i.e. the inability to read and write a short, simple statement concerning one's own everyday life) and learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia). These categories have been contested—as has the concept of "illiteracy" itself—for being predicated on narrow assumptions, primarily derived from school-based contexts, about what counts as reading and writing (e.g. comprehending and following instructions).
Prehistoric and ancient literacy
Origins of literacy
Between 3500 BCE and 3000 BCE, in southern Mesopotamia, the ancient Sumerians invented writing. During this era, literacy was "a largely functional matter, propelled by the need to manage the new quantities of information and the new type of governance created by trade and large scale production". Early writing systems first emerged as a recording system in which people used tokens with impressed markings to manage trade and agricultural production. The token system served as a precursor to early cuneiform writing once people began recording information on clay tablets. Proto-Cuneiform texts exhibit not only numerical signs, but also ideograms depicting objects being counted. Though the traditional view had been that cuneiform literacy was restricted to a class of scribes, assyriologists including Claus Wilcke and Dominique Charpin have argued that functional literacy was somewhat widespread by the Old Babylonian period. Nonetheless, professional of scribes became central to law, finances, accounting, government, administration, medicine, magic, divination, literature, and prayers.
Egyptian hieroglyphs emerged between 3300 BCE and 3100 BCE; the iconography emphasized power among royals and other elites. The Egyptian hieroglyphic writing system was the first notation system to have phonetic values.
Writing in lowland Mesoamerica was first used by the Olmec and Zapotec civilizations in 900–400 BCE. These civilizations used glyphic writing and bar-and-dot numerical notation systems for purposes related to royal iconography and calendar systems.
The earliest written notations in China date back to the Shang Dynasty in 1200 BCE. These systematic notations, inscribed on bones, recorded sacrifices made, tributes received, and animals hunted, which were activities of the elite. These oracle-bone inscriptions were the early ancestors of modern Chinese script and contained logosyllabic script and numerals. By the time of the consolidation of the Chinese Empire during the Qin and Han dynasties (c. 200 BCE), written documents were central to the formation and policing of a hierarchical bureaucratic governance structure reinforced through law. Within this legal order written records kept track of and controlled citizen movements, created records of misdeeds, and documented the actions and judgments of government officials.
Indus script is largely pictorial and has not yet been deciphered, as such, it is unknown whether it includes abstract signs. It is thought that they wrote from right to left and that the script is logographic. Because it has not been deciphered, linguists disagree on whether it is a complete and independent writing system; however, it is generally thought to be an independent writing system that emerged in the Harappa culture.
These examples indicate that early acts of literacy were closely tied to power and chiefly used for management practices, and probably less than 1% of the population was literate, as it was confined to a very small ruling elite.[improper synthesis?]
Origins of the alphabet
According to social anthropologist Jack Goody, there are two interpretations regarding the origin of the alphabet. Many classical scholars, such as historian Ignace Gelb, credit the Ancient Greeks for creating the first alphabetic system (c. 750 BCE) that used distinctive signs for consonants and vowels. Goody contests:
The importance of Greek culture of the subsequent history of Western Europe has led to an over-emphasis, by classicists and others, on the addition of specific vowel signs to the set of consonantal ones that had been developed earlier in Western Asia.
Thus, many scholars argue that the ancient Semitic-speaking peoples of northern Canaan (modern-day Syria) invented the consonantal alphabet as early as 1500 BCE. Much of this theory's development is credited to English archeologist Flinders Petrie, who, in 1905, came across a series of Canaanite inscriptions in the turquoise mines of Serabit el-Khadem. Ten years later, English Egyptologist Alan Gardiner reasoned that these letters contain an alphabet, as well as references to the Canaanite goddess Asherah. In 1948, William F. Albright deciphered the text using new evidence, including a series of inscriptions from Ugarit. Discovered in 1929 by French archaeologist Claude F. A. Schaeffer, some of these inscriptions were mythological texts (written in an early Canaanite dialect) that consisted of a 32-letter cuneiform consonantal alphabet.
Another significant discovery was made in 1953 when three arrowheads were uncovered, each containing identical Canaanite inscriptions from 12th century BCE. According to Frank Moore Cross, these inscriptions consisted of alphabetic signs that originated during the transitional development from pictographic script to a linear alphabet. Moreover, he asserts, "These inscriptions also provided clues to extend the decipherment of earlier and later alphabetic texts".
The Canaanite script's consonantal system inspired alphabetical developments in later systems. During the Late Bronze Age, successor alphabets appeared throughout the Mediterranean region and were used in Phoenician, Hebrew and Aramaic.
According to Goody, these cuneiform scripts may have influenced the development of the Greek alphabet several centuries later. Historically, the Greeks contended that their writing system was modeled after the Phoenicians. However, many Semitic scholars now believe that Ancient Greek is more consistent with an early form of Canaanite that was used c. 1100 BCE. While the earliest Greek inscriptions are dated circa 8th century BCE, epigraphical comparisons to Proto-Canaanite suggest that the Greeks may have adopted the consonantal alphabet as early as 1100 BCE, and later "added in five characters to represent vowels".
Phoenician, which is considered to contain the first linear alphabet, rapidly spread to Mediterranean port cities in northern Canaan. Some archeologists believe that Phoenician influenced the Hebrew and Aramaic alphabets as these languages evolved during the same time period, share similar features, and are commonly categorized into the same language group.
When the Israelites migrated to Canaan between 1200 and 1000 BCE they adopted a variation of the Canaanite alphabet. Baruch ben Neriah, Jeremiah's scribe, used this alphabet to create the later scripts of the Old Testament. The early Hebrew alphabet was prominent in the Mediterranean region until Neo-Babylonian rulers exiled the Jews to Babylon in the 6th century BCE. It was then that the new script (Square Hebrew) emerged and the older one rapidly died out.
The Aramaic alphabet also emerged sometime between 1200 and 1000 BCE. Although early examples are scarce, archeologists have uncovered a wide range of later Aramaic texts, written as early as the seventh century BCE. In the Near East, it was common to record events on clay using the cuneiform script, however, writing Aramaic on leather parchments became common during the Neo-Assyrian empire. With the rise of the Persians in the 5th century BCE, Achaemenid rulers adopted Aramaic as the "diplomatic language".
Darius the Great standardized Aramaic which became the Imperial Aramaic script. This Imperial Aramaic alphabet rapidly spread: west, to the Kingdom of Nabataea, then to Sinai and Arabian peninsulas, eventually making its way to Africa; and east, where it later influenced the development of the Brahmi script in India. Over the next few centuries, Imperial Aramaic script in Persia evolved into Pahlavi, "as well as for a range of alphabets used by early Turkish and Mongol tribes in Siberia, Mongolia and Turkestan". Literacy during this period spread with the merchant classes and 15-20% of the total population may have been literate.
Classical and post-classical literacy
Until recently it was thought that the majority of people were illiterate in the classical world,[note 2] though recent work challenges this perception. Anthony DiRenzo asserts that Roman society was "a civilization based on the book and the register", and "no one, either free or slave, could afford to be illiterate". Similarly Dupont points out, "The written word was all around them, in both public and private life: laws, calendars, regulations at shrines, and funeral epitaphs were engraved in stone or bronze. The Republic amassed huge archives of reports on every aspect of public life." The imperial civilian administration produced masses of documentation used in judicial, fiscal and administrative matters as did the municipalities. The army kept extensive records relating to supply and duty rosters and submitted reports. Merchants, shippers, and landowners (and their personal staffs), especially of the larger enterprises, must have been literate.
They shall give him twenty Psalms or two of the Apostles' epistles or some other part of Scripture. And if he is illiterate he shall go at the first, third and sixth hours to someone who can teach and has been appointed for him. He shall stand before him and learn very studiously and with all gratitude. The fundamentals of a syllable, the verbs and nouns shall all be written for him and even if he does not want to he shall be compelled to read.
During the 4th and 5th centuries the Church made efforts to ensure a better clergy, especially the bishops, who were expected to have a classical education—the hallmark of a socially acceptable person in higher society. Even after the remnants of the Western Roman Empire fell in the 470s, literacy continued to be a distinguishing mark of the elite, as communication skills were still important in political and church life (bishops were largely drawn from the senatorial class) in a new cultural synthesis that made "Christianity the Roman religion". However, these skills were less needed in the absence of a large imperial administrative apparatus whose middle and top echelons were dominated by the elite.[note 4] Even so, in pre-modern times it is unlikely that literacy was found in more than about 30-40% of the population. During the Dark Ages, the highest percentage of literacy was found among the clergy and monks, as they made up much of the staff needed to administer the states of western Europe.
An abundance of graffiti written in the Nabataean script dating back to the beginning of the first millennium CE has been taken to imply a relatively high degree of literacy among the general population in the ancient Arabic-speaking world.
Post-Antiquity illiteracy was made worse by the lack of a suitable writing medium, as when the Western Roman Empire collapsed, the import of papyrus to Europe ceased. Since papyrus perishes easily and does not last well in the wetter European climate, parchment was used, which was expensive and accessible only by the Church and the wealthy. Paper was introduced into Europe via Spain in the 11th century, and spread north slowly over the next four centuries. Literacy saw a resurgence as a result, and by the 15th century paper had largely replaced parchment except for luxury manuscripts.
The Reformation stressed the importance of literacy and being able to read the Bible. The Protestant countries were the first to attain full literacy; Scandinavian countries were fully literate in the early 17th century.
Literacy was already well established in early 18th century England, when books geared towards children became far more common. Near the end of the century, as many as 50 were printed every year in major cities around England.
Literacy and industrialization
In the 19th century, reading would become even more common in the United Kingdom. Public notes, broadsides, handbills, catchpennies and printed songs would have been usual street literature before newspapers became common. Other forms of popular reading material included advertising for events, theaters, and goods for sale.
In his 1836/1837 Pickwick Papers Charles Dickens's said that:
even the common people, both in town and country, are equally intense in their admiration. Frequently, have we seen the butcher-boy, with his tray on his shoulder, reading with the greatest avidity the last "Pickwick"; the footman (whose fopperies are so inimitably laid bare), the maidservant, the chimney sweep, all classes, in fact, read "Boz".
From the mid-19th century onwards, the Second Industrial Revolution saw technological improvements in paper production. The new distribution networks, enabled by improved roads and rail, resulted in an increased capacity to supply printed material. Social and educational changes increased the demand for reading matter, as rising literacy rates, particularly among the middle and working classes, created a new mass market for printed material. Wider schooling helped increase literacy rates, which in turn helped lower the cost of publication.
Unskilled labor forces were common in Western Europe, and, as British industry improved, more engineers and skilled workers who could handle technical instructions and complex situations were needed. Literacy was essential to be hired. A senior government official told Parliament in 1870:
Upon the speedy provision of elementary education depends our industrial prosperity. It is of no use trying to give technical teaching to our citizens without elementary education; uneducated labourers—and many of our labourers are utterly uneducated—are, for the most part, unskilled labourers, and if we leave our work–folk any longer unskilled, notwithstanding their strong sinews and determined energy, they will become overmatched in the competition of the world.: 159
In the late 19th century, gas and electric lighting were becoming more common in private homes, replacing candlelight and oil lamps, enabling reading after dark and increasing the appeal of literacy.
Spread of literacy since the mid-twentieth century
Data published by UNESCO shows that the worldwide literacy rate among adults has increased, on average, by 5 percentage points every decade since 1950, from 55.7% in 1950 to 86.2% in 2015. Due to rapid population growth, while the percentage of adults who were illiterate decreased, the actual number of illiterate adults increased from 700 million in 1950 to 878 million in 1990, before starting to decrease and falling to 745 million by 2015. The number of illiterate adults remains higher than in 1950, "despite decades of universal education policies, literacy interventions and the spread of print material and information and communications technology (ICT)".
Available global data indicates significant variations in literacy rates between world regions. North America, Europe, West Asia, and Central Asia have achieved almost full adult (age 15 or older) literacy for both men and women. Most countries in East Asia and the Pacific, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean, have adult literacy rates over 90%. In other regions illiteracy persists at higher rates, as of 2013 the adult literacy rate in South Asia and North Africa was 67.55%, and 59.76% in Sub-Saharan Africa.[failed verification]
In much of the world, high youth literacy rates suggest that illiteracy will become less common as more educated younger generations replace less educated older ones. However, in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where the vast majority of the world's illiterate youth live, lower school enrollment implies that illiteracy will persist to a greater degree. According to 2013 data, the youth literacy rate (ages 15 to 24) is 84% in South Asia and North Africa, and 70% in sub-Saharan Africa.
However the literate/illiterate distinction is not clear-cut. Given that having a literate person in the household confers many of the benefits of literacy, some recent literature in economics, starting with the work of Kaushik Basu and James Foster, distinguishes between a "proximate illiterate" and an "isolated illiterate". A "proximate illiterate" lives in a household with literate members, while an "isolated illiterate" lives in a household where everyone is illiterate. Concerningly, many people in poor nations are not proximate illiterates but rather isolated illiterates.
According to 2015 data collected by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, about two-thirds (63%) of the world's illiterate adults are women. This disparity was even starker in previous decades, and from 1970 to 2000, the global gender gap in literacy decreased significantly. However, the gap between men and women only narrowed after 1990, when male adult literacy rate was 80%.[contradictory] In recent years, however, this progress has stagnated, with the gender gap holding almost constant over the last two decades. In general, the gender gap in literacy is not as pronounced as the regional gap; that is, differences between countries are often larger than gender differences within countries.
Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest overall literacy rate and the widest gender gap: 52% of adult women are literate, and 68% of adult men. Similar gender disparity exists in North Africa, where 70% of adult women are literate, versus 86% of adult men. In South Asia 58% of adult women are literate, and 77% of adult men.
In many contexts, female illiteracy coexists with other aspects of gender inequality. Martha Nussbaum says illiterate women are more vulnerable to becoming trapped in an abusive marriage, given that illiteracy limits their employment opportunities and worsens their position when negotiating within the household. Moreover, Nussbaum links literacy to the ability for women to effectively communicate and collaborate with one another "to participate in a larger movement for political change."
Challenges of increasing female literacy
Social barriers can limit opportunities to increase literacy skills among women and girls; making literacy classes available can be ineffective when it conflicts with the use of the valuable limited time of women and girls. School age girls may face more expectations than their male counterparts to perform household work and care for younger siblings. Generational dynamics can also perpetuate these disparities; illiterate parents may not readily appreciate the value of literacy for their daughters, particularly in traditional, rural societies with expectations that girls will remain at home.
A World Bank and International Center for Research on Women review of academic literature concluded that child marriage, which predominantly impacts girls, tends to reduce literacy levels. A 2008 analysis of the issue in Bangladesh found that for every additional year a girl's marriage is delayed, her likelihood of literacy increases by 5.6%. Similarly, a 2014 study found that in sub-Saharan Africa, marrying early significantly decreases a girl's probability of literacy, even after accounting for other variables. Therefore a 2015 literature review recommended marriage postponement as part of a strategy to increase educational attainment levels, including female literacy.
Gender gap for boys in developed countries
While women and girls comprise the majority of the global illiterate population, in many developed countries a literacy gender gap exists in the opposite direction. Data from the Programme for International Student Assessment has consistently shown literacy underachievement of boys within member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In view of such findings, many education specialists have recommended changing classroom practices to better accommodate boys' learning styles, and removing any gender stereotypes that may create a perception that reading and writing are feminine activities.
Many policy analysts consider literacy rates as a crucial measure of the value of a region's human capital. For example, literate people can be more easily trained than illiterate people, and generally have a higher socioeconomic status; thus they enjoy better health and employment prospects. The international community has come to consider literacy as a key facilitator and goal of development. In regard to the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN in 2015, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning has declared the "central role of literacy in responding to sustainable development challenges such as health, social equality, economic empowerment and environmental sustainability."
A majority of prisoners have been found to be illiterate, and in Edinburgh prison, winner of the 2010 Libraries Change Lives Award, "the library has become the cornerstone of the prison's literacy strategy", reducing recidivism and reoffending, and allowing incarcerated people to work toward attaining higher socioeconomic status once released.
Effects on literacy learning
As socioeconomics affects brain development, and brain functions are heavily involved in processing both input and output, a learner's environment can affect the cognitive process of learning how to read and write; before a child enters a school setting, their executive function is influenced by their home environment. Research demonstrates that for children who grow up in poverty, their socioeconomic circumstances severely strain their "neuro-endocrine and brain function". This affects a child's ability to regulate environmental stimuli, process and structure information, and plan and effectively execute tasks that involve their working memory—all of these are necessary cognitive facilities to successfully learn how to read and write. Living in poverty is stressful for all involved but is cognitively damaging for young children.
A study done by NICHD indicates that socioeconomics plays a role for children who are young when the family experiences poverty, but shows no indication of adverse effects on reading achievement or behavior for adolescents entering poverty. The data extensively shows that children from low socioeconomic backgrounds have poorer literacy performance, especially in reading. A study done by OECD, which included over 25 countries in Europe, found that in all studied countries students who lived in low-income households scored lower than students who lived in high-income households in reading.
Parenting also affects a child's literacy. Field research was done collecting data from families that were upper, middle, or lower class, or on welfare. The results found that, in a 100-hour week, children in the upper class households experienced an average of over 200,000 words, those in middle and lower class households heard about 125,000 words, and children from households on welfare were exposed to the least words—62,000 words. This indicates that a child from an upper class family would be exposed to 8 million more words than a child from a family on welfare. Outside of word exposure, which is essential for word acquisition, the National Center for Educational Statistics found that 41.9% of children from low-income families scored substantially lower on most reading achievements for grades 4, 8 and 12 in 2013.
According to a study performed by ANOVA, multiple socioeconomic variables influence children, such as parental education level, parental occupation, health history, and even usage of technology within the home. With these factors in mind, their study showed that young children are especially susceptible to environmental factors, meaning socioeconomics affects them cognitively and can have adverse effects as their brains continue to develop. However, another study done by the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) suggests a slightly different conclusion, while the study agrees that poverty negatively affects childhood literacy some nuances are added. In both studies, children who experienced poverty scored lower in reading assessments but the NLSY's study noted that the duration of poverty altered the literacy outcome. It found that children ages 5–11 who experienced "persistent poverty" were more adversely affected than their peers who never experienced poverty. The study acknowledged that other factors affected these children's reading scores, particularly maternal influence. The mothers of these households were scaled based on a "home environment" score, which measured their emotional and verbal responsiveness, acceptance and involvement with the child and organization. Households experiencing poverty tended to have lower scores, and lower scores correlated with lower reading levels. The study also showed that the effects of poverty on child literacy differed by ethnicity, culture and gender.
Print illiteracy generally corresponds with less knowledge about modern health, hygiene, and nutritional practices, and a lack of knowledge can exacerbate a range of health issues. Within developing countries in particular, literacy rates also have implications for child mortality; in these contexts, children of literate mothers are 50% more likely to live past age 5 than children of illiterate mothers. Therefore, public health research has increasingly focused on the potential for literacy skills to allow women to more successfully access healthcare, and thereby facilitate gains in child health.
A 2014 descriptive research survey project correlates literacy levels with the socioeconomic status of women in Oyo State, Nigeria. The study shows that developing literacy in the region will bring "economic empowerment and will encourage rural women to practice hygiene, which will in turn lead to the reduction of birth and death rates."
Literacy can increase job opportunities and access to higher education. In 2009, the National Adult Literacy Agency in Ireland commissioned a cost–benefit analysis of adult literacy training which concluded that there were economic gains for the individuals, the companies they worked for, and the Exchequer, as well as the economy and the country as a whole (e.g. increased GDP).
Korotayev and coauthors found a rather significant correlation between the level of literacy in the early 19th century and successful modernization and economic breakthroughs in the late 20th century, as "literate people could be characterized by a greater innovative-activity level, which provides opportunities for modernization, development, and economic growth".
Lifespan development and promotion efforts
While informal learning within the home can play an important role in literacy development, gains in childhood literacy often occur in primary school settings. Continuing the global expansion of public education is thus a frequent focus of literacy advocates.: 103–104 These kinds of broad improvements in education often require centralized efforts by national governments, though, local literacy projects implemented by NGOs can play an important role, particularly in rural contexts.
Funding for both youth and adult literacy programs often comes from large international development organizations. USAID, for example, steered donors like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Partnership for Education toward the issue of childhood literacy by developing the Early Grade Reading Assessment. Advocacy groups like the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education have frequently called upon international organizations such as UNESCO, the International Labour Organization, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank to prioritize support for adult women's literacy. Efforts to increase adult literacy often encompass other development priorities as well; for example, initiatives in Ethiopia, Morocco, and India have combined adult literacy programs with vocational skills trainings in order to encourage program enrollment and address the complex needs of women (and other marginalized groups) who lack economic opportunities.
In 2013, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning published a set of case studies on programs that successfully improved female literacy rates. The report features countries from a variety of regions and differing income levels, reflecting the general global consensus on "the need to empower women through the acquisition of literacy skills.": 7 Part of the impetus for UNESCO's focus on literacy is a broader effort to respond to globalization and "the shift towards knowledge-based societies" that it has produced. While globalization presents emerging challenges, it also provides new opportunities: many education and development specialists are hopeful that new ICTs will expand literacy learning opportunities for children and adults, even in countries that have historically struggled to improve literacy rates through more conventional means.: 112 In 2007, the nonprofit organization LitWorld was founded to promote literacy around the world. Based in the United States, the organization has developed programs to be applied internationally with the goal to teach children to speak, read, and write, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or economic status.
Although most people acquire literacy during childhood, literacy continues to develop throughout life; literacy is not a skill that is fixed once a person leaves school but remains malleable across the entire lifespan. Among adults, both gains and losses in literacy occur in roughly equal measure, sometimes over relatively short periods of a few years. Even adults with very low literacy levels can acquire literacy over time. Whether a person experiences gains or losses depends on a range of factors, and one of the key factors are the demands and opportunities to engage in literary practices in the workplace, home, or other contexts.
Literacy as a development indicator
The Human Development Index, produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), uses education as one of its three indicators. Originally, adult literacy represented two-thirds of this education index weight. In 2010, however, the UNDP replaced the adult literacy measure with mean years of schooling. A 2011 UNDP research paper frames this change as a way to "ensure current relevance", arguing that gains in global literacy already achieved between 1970 and 2010 mean that literacy will be "unlikely to be as informative of the future." Other scholars, however, have since warned against overlooking the importance of literacy as an indicator and goal for development, particularly for marginalized groups such as women and rural populations.
The World Bank, along with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, has developed the Learning Poverty concept, and an associated measure which measures the proportion of students who are unable to read and understand a simple story by age 10. In low- and middle-income countries 53% of children are "learning-poor", as are up to 80% of children in poor countries. In fact, these new measures indicate that these high rates of illiteracy are an "early warning sign that SDG 4 for education and all related global goals are in jeopardy." Current progress in improving literacy rates is seen as much too slow to meet the SDG goals, as at the current rate, approximately 43% of children will still be learning poor by 2030.
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) assesses children on reading and math skills at age 15. PISA-D encourages and facilitates PISA testing in low- and middle-income countries. In 2019, "PISA-D results reveal exceptionally low scores for participating countries. Only 23 percent of students tested achieved the minimum level of proficiency in reading, compared with 80 percent of OECD". Minimum proficiency requires students to "read 'simple and familiar texts and understand them literally', as well as demonstrating some ability to connect pieces of information and draw inferences."
In 2020, UNESCO Institute for Statistics estimated the global literacy rate at 86.68%. It is important to understand how literacy rates have been measured in the past, as well as how they are currently being measured. Starting in 1975 the head of a household answered a simple yes/no question asking whether household members could read and write; in 1988 some countries started using self-reporting as well. Self-reported data is subjective and has several limitations. First, a simple yes/no question does not capture the continuum of literacy. Second, self-reports are dependent on what each individual interprets "reading" and "writing" to mean. In some cultures, drawing a picture may be understood as writing one's name. Lastly, many of the surveys asked one individual to report literacy on behalf of others, "introducing further noise, in particular when it comes to estimating literacy among women and children, since these groups are less often considered heads of household".
In 2007, several countries began introducing literacy tests as a more accurate measurement of literacy rates, including Liberia, South Korea, Guyana, Kenya, and Bangladesh. However, in 2016, the majority of counties still reported literacy through either self-reported measures or other indirect estimates.
These indirect measurements are potentially problematic, as many countries measure literacy based on years of schooling. In Greece, an individual is considered literate if they have finished six years of primary education, while in Paraguay individuals are considered literate if they have completed just two years of primary school.
However, emerging research reveals that educational attainment (e.g. years of schooling) does not perfectly correlate with literacy. Literacy tests show that in many low-income countries, a large proportion of students who have attended two years of primary school cannot read a single word. These rates are as high as 90% of second-grade students in Malawi, 85.4% in India, 83% in Ghana, and 64% in Uganda. In India, over 50% of Grade 5 students have not mastered Grade 2 literacy. In Nigeria, only about 1 in 10 women who completed Grade 6 can read a single sentence in their native language. This data reveals that literacy rates measured by using years of schooling as a proxy are potentially unreliable and do not reflect the true literacy rates of populations.
Literacy as a human right
Unlike medieval times, when reading and writing skills were restricted to a few elites and the clergy, literacy skills are now expected from every member of society. Literacy is therefore considered a human right, essential for lifelong learning and social change, as supported by the 1996 Report of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century, and the 1997 Hamburg Declaration:
Literacy, broadly conceived as the basic knowledge and skills needed by all in a rapidly changing world, is a fundamental human right. (...) There are millions, the majority of whom are women, who lack opportunities to learn or who have insufficient skills to be able to assert this right. The challenge is to enable them to do so. This will often imply the creation of preconditions for learning through awareness raising and empowerment. Literacy is also a catalyst for participation in social, cultural, political and economic activities, and for learning throughout life.
In 2016, the European Literacy Policy Network (an association of European literacy professionals) published a document entitled European Declaration of the right to literacy. It states that:
Everyone in Europe has the right to acquire literacy. EU Member States should ensure that people of all ages, regardless of social class, religion, ethnicity, origin and gender, are provided with the necessary resources and opportunities to develop sufficient and sustainable literacy skills in order to effectively understand and use written communication be in handwritten, in print or digital form.
The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (April 2011)
The teaching of literacy involves both the teaching of reading and the teaching of writing, in schooling reading and writing are often taught as separate skills. However, children show curiosity about the written word and begin to experiment with both in a process of emergent literacy and making sense of (and using) the writing system they see used around them. Every new piece of writing draws on previous reading, through a process of intertextuality; sometimes explicitly through citation, as in academic writing, and writing about reading is one of the major approaches for teaching writing in higher education. Intertextuality, however, also can be implicit through well-known recognizable phrases from specific works or genres, or through development of a distinct writing style. Evidence has supported the integration of reading and writing at all levels of schooling, as improvement in one area supports the other. A series of metastudies have examined the effectiveness of various methods of teaching of writing, revealing that attention to context, cognitive/motivational factors, and the instruction strategy, among other things, are important.
Critiques of autonomous models of literacy notwithstanding, the belief that reading development is key to literacy remains dominant, at least in the United States, where it is understood as the progression of skills that begins with the ability to understand spoken words and decode written words, and culminates in the deep understanding of the text. Reading development involves a range of complex language-underpinnings including awareness of speech sounds (phonology), spelling patterns (orthography), word meaning (semantics), syntax and patterns of word formation (morphology); all of which provide a necessary platform for reading fluency and comprehension. Once these skills are acquired, it is believed a reader can attain full language literacy, which includes the abilities to apply to printed material critical analysis, inference and synthesis; to write with accuracy and coherence; and to use information and insights from text as the basis for informed decisions and creative thought.
For this reason, teaching English reading literacy in the United States is dominated by a focus on a set of discrete decoding skills. From this perspective, literacy—or rather reading—comprises a number of sub-skills that can be taught to students. These sub-skills include phonological awareness, phonics (decoding), fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary. Mastering each of these sub-skills is necessary for students to become proficient readers.
From this same perspective, readers of alphabetic languages must understand the alphabetic principle to master basic reading skills. For this purpose a writing system is "alphabetic" if it uses symbols to represent phonemes (individual language sounds), though the degree of correspondence between letters and sounds varies between alphabetic languages. Syllabic writing systems (such as Japanese kana) use a symbol to represent a single syllable, and logographic writing systems (such as Chinese) use a symbol to represent a morpheme.
There are a number of approaches to teaching reading. Each is shaped by its assumptions about what literacy is and how it is best learned by students. Phonics instruction, for example, focuses on reading at the level of letters or symbols and their sounds (i.e. sublexical). It teaches readers to decode the letters, or groups of letters, that make up a word. A common method of teaching phonics is synthetic phonics, in which a novice reader pronounces each individual sound and blends them to pronounce the whole word. Another approach is embedded phonics instruction, used more often in whole language reading instruction, in which novice readers learn about the individual letters in words on a just-in-time, just-in-place basis that is tailored to meet each student's reading and writing learning needs. That is, teachers provide phonics instruction opportunistically, within the context of stories or student writing that feature repeat instances of a particular letter or group of letters. Embedded instruction combines letter–sound knowledge with the use of meaningful context to read new and difficult words. Techniques such as directed listening and thinking activities can be used to aid children in learning how to read and in reading comprehension. For students at both primary and secondary levels, writing about what they read, as they are learning to write, has been found to also be effective in improving their reading skills.
The two that are the most commonly used approaches to reading instruction are structured literacy instruction and balanced literacy instruction. The structured literacy approach explicitly and systematically focuses on phonological awareness, word recognition, phonics, decoding, spelling, and syntax at both the sentence and paragraph levels. The balanced literacy approach, as the name suggests, balances emphasis on phonics and decoding; shared, guided, and independent reading; and grapheme representations with context and imagery. Both approaches have their critics—those who oppose structured literacy claim that by restricting students to phonemes, their fluency development is limited; critics of balanced literacy claim that if phonics and decoding instruction is neglected, students will have to rely on compensatory strategies when confronted with unfamiliar text.[note 5]
These strategies are taught to students as part of the balanced literacy approach based on a theory about reading development called the three cueing system. As the name suggests, the three-cueing system is uses three cues to determine the meaning of words: grapho-phonetic cues (letter-sound relationships); syntactic cues (grammatical structure); and semantic cues (a word making sense in context).[better source needed] However, cognitive neuroscientist Mark Seidenberg and professor Timothy Shanahan do not support the theory. They say the three-cueing system's value in reading instruction "is a magnificent work of the imagination", and it developed not because teachers lack integrity, commitment, motivation, sincerity, or intelligence, but because they "were poorly trained and advised" about the science of reading. In England, the simple view of reading and synthetic phonics are intended to replace "the searchlights multi-cueing model".[specify]
In his 2009 book Reading in the brain, cognitive neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene said "cognitive psychology directly refutes any notion of teaching via a 'global' or 'whole language' method." He goes on to talk about "the myth of whole-word reading", saying it has been refuted by recent[when?] experiments. "We do not recognize a printed word through a holistic grasping of its contours, because our brain breaks it down into letters and graphemes."
However, a 2012 hypothesis proposed that reading might be acquired naturally, in the same manner as spoken language, if print is constantly available at an early age. According to this thoery, if an appropriate form of written text is made available before formal schooling begins, reading should be learned inductively, emerge naturally, with no significant negative consequences. This proposal challenges the commonly held belief that written language requires formal instruction and schooling, thus its success would change current views of literacy and schooling. Using developments in behavioral science and technology, Technology Assisted Reading Acquisition (TARA), an interactive system, would enable young pre–literate children to accurately perceive and learn properties of written language by simple exposure to the written form.
In Australia, a number of state governments have introduced Reading Challenges to improve literacy. The Premier's Reading Challenge in South Australia, launched by Premier Mike Rann, has one of the highest participation rates in the world for reading challenges. It has been embraced by more than 95% of public, private and religious schools.[full citation needed]
Programs have been implemented in regions that have an ongoing conflict or are in a post-conflict stage. The Norwegian Refugee Council Pack program has been used in 13 post-conflict countries since 2003. The program organizers believe that daily routines and otherwise predictable activities help ease the transition from war to peace. Learners can select one area of vocational training for a year long period; they also complete required courses in agriculture, life skills, literacy and numeracy. Results have shown that active participation and management of the members of the program are important to the success of the program. These programs share the use of integrated basic education, e.g. literacy, numeracy, scientific knowledge, local history and culture, native and mainstream language skills, and apprenticeships.
Teaching migrant/immigrant and non-native users
Although there is considerable awareness that language deficiencies, including a lack of proficiency, are disadvantageous to immigrants settling into a new country, there is a lack of pedagogical approaches to teaching literacy to migrant English language learners (ELLs). Harvard scholar Catherine Snow called for the gap to be addressed: "The TESOL field needs a concerted research effort to inform literacy instruction for such children ... to determine when to start literacy instruction and how to adapt it to the LS reader's needs". Recent developments to address the gap in teaching literacy to foreign language learners[note 6] have been ongoing, with promising results seen with a curricular framework from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which integrates Teaching for Understanding.
A series of pilot projects has been carried out in the Middle East and Africa, and significant interest from the learners has been seen through the use of visual arts as springboards for literacy oriented instruction. In one project migrant women were provided with cameras and took the instructor on a walking tour of their village. There, they photographed places and activities that would later be used for writings about their daily life—in essence a narrative of life. Other primers for writing activities include: painting, sketching, and other craft projects.
In another series of pilot studies alternatives to instructing literacy to migrant English-language learners were investigated, starting from simple trials aiming to test the affects of teaching photography to participants with no prior photography background, and then painting and sketching activities that could later be integrated into a larger pedagogical initiative. In efforts to develop alternative approaches for literacy instruction utilizing visual arts, work was carried out with Afghan laborers, Bangladeshi tailors, Emirati media students, internal Ethiopian migrants (both laborers and university students), and a street child.
It should be pointed out that in these challenging contexts sometimes the teaching of literacy may have unforeseen barriers. The EL Gazette reported that in the trials carried out in Ethiopia, for example, it was found that all ten of the participants had problems with vision. In order to overcome this, or to avoid such challenges, preliminary health checks can help inform pre-teaching in order to better assist in the teaching/learning of literacy.
Using a visual arts approach to literacy instruction can provide benefit by incorporating a traditional literacy approach (reading and writing), while also addressing 21st century digital literacy through the use of digital cameras and posting images onto the web. Many scholars, such as Hutchison and Woodward, feel that it is necessary to include digital literacy under the traditional umbrella of literacy instruction, specifically when engaging second language learners.[note 7] A visual arts approach to literary instruction for migrant populations can also be blended with core curricular goals.
A pressing challenge in education is the instruction of literacy to Migrant English Language Learners (MELLs), a term coined by Pellerine, and not limited to English. "Due to the growing share of immigrants in many Western societies, there has been increasing concern for the degree to which immigrants acquire language that is spoken in the destination country".
While learning literacy in one's first language can be challenging, and the challenge becomes even more cognitively demanding when learning a second language. The task can become considerably more difficult when confronted by a migrant who has made a sudden change by immigrating and requires the second language immediately upon arrival. In most instances a migrant will not have the opportunity to start school again at grade one and acquire the language naturally, instead alternative interventions need to take place. In these cases a visual arts approach can be helpful—taking a photo, sketching an event, or painting an image have been seen as effective ways to understand the intention of the learner as it includes orality.
In the above image from left to right:
- An image taken during a phototour of the participant's village. This image is of the individual at her shop with one of the products she sells: dung for cooking fuel. The image helps the instructor understand the realities of the participant's daily life and most importantly it allows the participant the opportunity to determine what is important to them.
- An image of a student explaining to a group, and elaborating on, a drawn series of milestones in her life. This student had a very basic ability and, with some help, was able to write brief captions under the images. While she speaks her story is recorded to understand and develop it in the new language.
- A painting created by composite in a graphics editing program (e.g. Photoshop). With further training participants can learn how to blend images, thereby introducing elements of digital literacies, beneficial in many spheres of life in the 21st century.
From the work based in Ethiopia, participants were asked to rate preference of activity, on a scale of 1–10. The survey prompt was: On a scale of 1 - 10 how would you rate photography as an activity that helped you get inspiration for your writing activities (think of enjoyment and usefulness). The activities used as primers for writing were rated, in order of preference:
- Photography 97%
- Oral presentations/sharing your art 92%
- Process painting 84%
- Painting 82%
- Sketching 78%
- Gluing activities 72%
- Stencil/tracing activities 60%
More research would need to be conducted to confirm such trends.
Authorship programs have been successful in bringing student work together in book format as part of the program's culmination. These books can be used to document learning, and, more importantly, to reinforce language and content goals.
The collecting of such writings into books can trigger both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Feedback by students involved in such initiatives indicates that the healthy pressures of collective and collaborative work was beneficial.
Teaching people to read and write, the traditional meaning of literacy, is a very complex task in one's native language, to do this in a second language becomes increasingly more complex. In some countries, there are legal and policy driven boundaries that prohibit a migrant's naturalization and acquisition of citizenship based on language proficiency. For example, despite debate, language tests can be required years after settling into Canada. Similar policies exists globally, including in New Zealand, Australia, and the US.
The EL Gazette reviewed Pellerine's work with migrant English language learners and commented:
Handing English language learners a sponge and some paint and asking them to 'paint what comes' might not appear like a promising teaching method for a foreign language. But Canadian EL instructor and photographer Steve Pellerine has found that the technique, along with others based around the visual arts, has helped some of his most challenging groups to learn.
Visual arts have been viewed as an effective way to approach literacy instruction—the art being a primer for subsequent literacy tasks within a scaffolded curricular design, such at Teaching for Understanding (TfU) or Understanding by Design (UbD).
On average, girls do better than boys at English; yet nearly one in ten young adult women have poor reading and writing skills in the UK in the 21st century, which seriously damages their employment prospects. Many are trapped in poverty, but hide their lack of reading skill due to social stigma.
Literacy is first documented to have occurred in the area of modern England on 24 September 54 BCE, when Julius Caesar and Quintus Cicero wrote to Marcus Cicero "from the nearest shores of Britain". Literacy was widespread under Roman rule, but became very rare, limited almost entirely to churchmen, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. In 12th and 13th century England, the ability to recite a particular passage from the Bible (Psalm 51) in Latin entitled a common law defendant to the benefit of clergy, and trial before an ecclesiastical court, where sentences were more lenient, instead of a secular one, where hanging was a likely sentence. Thus literate defendants often claimed benefit of clergy, while an illiterate person who had memorized the psalm used in the literacy test could also claim benefit of clergy.
Despite lacking a system of free and compulsory primary schooling, England reached near universal literacy in the 19th century as a result of shared, informal learning provided by family members, fellow workers, or benevolent employers. Even with near universal literacy, the gap between male and female rates persisted until the early 20th century. Many women in the West during the 19th century were able to read, but unable to write.
Formal higher education in the arts and sciences in Wales, from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, was limited to the wealthy and the clergy. Following the Roman occupation and the conquest by the English, education in Wales was at a low point during the early modern period; in particular, formal education was only available in English while the majority of the population spoke only Welsh. The first modern grammar schools were established in Welsh towns such as Ruthin, Brecon, and Cowbridge. One of the first modern national education methods to use the native Welsh language was started by Griffith Jones in 1731.[note 8] Jones became rector of Llanddowror in 1716, and remained there for the rest of his life. He organized and introduced a [clarification needed] school system, which was attractive and effective for Welsh speakers, while also teaching them English, which gave them access to broader educational sources. The circulating schools may have taught half the country's population to read. Literacy rates in Wales by the mid-18th century were one of the highest.
The ability to read did not necessarily mean the ability to write. The 1686 church law (kyrkolagen) of the Kingdom of Sweden (modern Sweden, Finland, Latvia and Estonia) made literacy compulsory, and by 1800 the percent of people able to read was close to 100%. This was directly dependent on the need to read religious texts in the Lutheran faith in Sweden and Finland, as a result, literacy in these countries was specifically focused towards reading. However, as late as the 19th century, many Swedes, especially women, could not write. Iceland was an exception, that achieved widespread literacy without formal schooling, libraries, or printed books via informal tuition by religious leaders and peasant teachers.
Historian Ernest Gellner argues that Continental European countries were far more successful in implementing educational reform because their governments were more willing to invest in the population as a whole. Government oversight allowed countries to standardize curriculum and secure funding through legislation thus enabling educational programs to have a broader reach.
Although the present-day concepts of literacy have much to do with the 15th-century invention of the movable type printing press, it was not until the Industrial Revolution of the mid-19th century that paper and books became affordable to all classes of industrialized society. Until then, only a small percent of the population was literate as only wealthy individuals and institutions could afford the materials. Even today[update], the cost of paper and books is a barrier to universal literacy in some developing nations.
On the other hand, historian Harvey Graff argues that the introduction of compulsory education was, in part, an effort to control the type of literacy the working class had access to. According to Graff, learning was increasing outside of formal settings (e.g. schools) and this uncontrolled, potentially critical, reading could lead to increased radicalization of the populace. In his view, mass schooling was meant to temper and control literacy, not spread it. Graff also says, using the example of Sweden, that mass literacy can be achieved without formal schooling or instruction in writing.
Research on the literacy rates of Canadians in the colonial days rests largely on examination of the ratio of signatures to marks on parish acts (birth, baptismal, and marriage registrations). Although some researchers have concluded that signature counts drawn from marriage registers in nineteenth century France corresponded closely with literacy tests given to military conscripts, others regard this methodology as a "relatively unimaginative treatment of the complex practices and events that might be described as literacy".: 1–2 However, censuses, dating back to 1666, and official records from New France, offer few clues of their own on the population's levels of literacy, therefore leaving few options in terms of materials from which to draw literary rate estimates.
In his research of literacy rates among adult males and females in New France, Trudel found that in 1663, of the 1,224 married people in New France, 59% of grooms and 46% of brides signed their name. However, less than 40% of the over 3,000 colony inhabitants were native born, and thus the signature rates likely reflected literacy rates in France, rather than in New France. Magnuson's research revealed a trend: signature rates for the period of 1680–1699 were 42% for males and 30% for females; in 1657–1715, they were 45% for males, 43% for females; in 1745–1754, they were higher for females than for males. He believed that this upward trend in women's ability to sign documents was largely attributed to the greater number of female religious orders, and to the proportionately more active role of women in health and education; male religious orders largely served as parish priests, missionaries, military chaplains and explorers. Canada's first newspaper—the Halifax Gazette—began publication in 1752.
From the British Conquest (1763) to Confederation (1867)
The end of the Seven Years' War in 1763 allowed Québec City to acquire two Philadelphia printers and begin printing a bilingual Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph in 1764, and in 1785 Fleury Mesplet started publication of the Montreal Gazette, which is now[when?] the oldest continuing newspaper in the country.
In the 19th century, printing became more affordable, and literature, in its many forms, became much more available. Nevertheless, educating the Canadian population in reading and writing was still a challenge. Concerned about the strong French Canadian presence in the colony, the British authorities repeatedly tried to help establish schools that were outside the control of religious authorities, but these efforts were largely undermined by the Catholic Church and later the Anglican clergy.
Starting in the early 1820s in Lower Canada, the classical college curriculum, which was controlled by the Church, was subject to growing criticism, with people saying it was primarily fit to produce priests at a time when Lower Canadians where competing with "foreign industry and commerce, and with the immigrants who were monopolizing trade." Catholic, and later Anglican, responses to attempts to promote parish schools centered around "the dangers of popular literacy", both opposed a curriculum that encouraged lay reading of the Bible, and "warned of the evil and demoralizing tendencies of unregulated reading in general."
Despite this, the invention of the printing press had laid the foundations for the modern era and universal social literacy, and thus, with time, "technologically, literacy had passed from the hands of an elite to the populace at large. Historical factors and sociopolitical conditions, however, have determined the extent to which universal social literacy has come to pass".
In 1871 only about half of French Canadian men self-reported that they were literate, whereas 90 percent of other Canadian men said they could read and write. Information from the Canadian Families Project sample of the 1901 Census in Canada indicated that literacy rates for French Canadians and other Canadians had increased, as measured by the ability of men between the ages of 16 and 65 to answer literacy questions. Compulsory attendance in schools was legislated in the late 19th century in all provinces but Quebec, but by then a change in parental attitudes towards education meant that many children were already attending regularly. Unlike school promoters' emphasis on character formation, the shaping of values, the development of political and social attitudes, and proper behaviour, many parents supported schooling because they wanted their children to learn to read, write, and do arithmetic. Efforts were made to exert power and religious, moral, economic/professional, and social/cultural influence over children who were learning to read by dictating the contents of their school readers, but educators broke from these influences and also taught literature from a more child-centred perspective: reading for the pleasure of it.
Educational change in Québec began as a result of a major inquiry at the start of the "Quiet Revolution" in the early 1960s. In response to the resulting recommendations, the Québec government revamped the school system in an attempt to enhance the francophone population's general educational level and to produce a better-qualified labor force. Catholic Church leadership was rejected in favour of government administration and vastly increased budgets were given to school boards across the province.
With time, and with continuing inquiry into the literacy achievement levels of Canadians, the definition of literacy moved from a dichotomous one (either a person could, or could not, write their name, or was literate or illiterate), to ones that considered literacy's multidimensionality, along with the qualitative and quantitative aspects of literacy. In the 1970s, organizations like the Canadian Association for Adult Education believed that one had to complete the 8th grade to achieve functional literacy. Examination of 1976 census data found that among Canadians age 15 or over 4,376,655, or 28.4%, reported a level of schooling of less than grade 9 and were thus deemed not functionally literate. However in 1991, UNESCO formally stated that Canada's use of educational attainment as a proxy measure of literacy was not as reliable as direct assessment, which led to the development of proficiency tests that measure reading literacy more directly.
Direct systematic measures of literacy in Canada, 1987 to present
Canada conducted its first literacy survey in 1987 which discovered that there were more than five million functionally illiterate adults in Canada, or 24 percent of the adult population. Statistics Canada then conducted three national and international literacy surveys of the adult population—the first one in 1989 was commissioned by the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada department. This first survey was called "Literacy Skills Used in Daily Activities", and was modeled after the 1985 US survey of young adults. It represented the first attempt in Canada to produce skill measures deemed comparable across languages. Literacy, for the first time, was measured on a continuum of skills. The survey found that 16% of Canadians had literacy skills too limited to deal with most of the printed material encountered in daily life, and 22% were considered "narrow readers".
In 1994–1995, Canada participated in the first multi-country, multi-language assessment of adult literacy, the International Adult Literacy Survey. A stratified multistage probability sample design was used to select the sample from the Census Frame. The sample was designed to yield separate samples for the two Canadian official languages, English and French, and participants were measured on the dimensions of prose literacy, document literacy and quantitative literacy. The survey found that, of Canadians between the ages of 16 and 65, 42.2% scored at the lowest two levels for prose and quantitative literacy, and 43% for document literacy. The survey presented many important correlations, among which was a strong plausible link between literacy and a country's economic potential.
In 2003, Canada participated in the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey; this survey contained identical measures for assessing the prose and document literacy proficiencies, allowing for comparisons between survey results on these two measures. This survey found that 41.9% of Canadians between ages 16 and 65 scored at the lowest two levels of prose literacy, and 42.6% did so for document literacy; showing a minor improvement on both scales.
The OECD's Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies is expected to produce new comparative skill profiles in late 2013.[needs update]
In the last 40 years, the rate of illiteracy in Mexico has been steadily decreasing. In the 1960s, because the majority of the residents of the federal capital were illiterate, the planners of the Mexico City Metro designed a series of unique icons to identify each station in the system in addition to its formal name. The INEGI's census data in 1970 showed a national average illiteracy rate of 25.8%, which had decreased to under 7% by the 2010 census. Mexico still has a gender educational bias—the illiteracy rate for women was 8.1% compared with 5.6% for men.
Rates differ across regions and states. The states with the highest poverty rate had greater than 15% illiteracy in 2010: 17.8% in Chiapas, 16.7% in Guerrero and 16.3% in Oaxaca. In contrast, the illiteracy rates in the Federal District (now part of Mexico City) and in some northern states like Nuevo León, Baja California, and Coahuila were below 3% in the 2010 census (2.1%, 2.2%, 2.6% and 2.6% respectively).
Access to literacy in the United States is affected by historical developments in media, race, immigration, and chattel slavery. For example, before compulsory education in the 19th century, illiteracy among white people was not uncommon. Additionally, many of the confederate states made it illegal to teach the enslaved to read.
By 1900, the situation had improved somewhat, but 44% of black people remained illiterate. There were significant improvements for African Americans and other races in the early 20th century; the descendants of former slaves, who had had no educational opportunities, grew up in the post Civil War period and often had some chance to obtain a basic education. The gap in illiteracy between white and black adults continued to narrow through the 20th century, and in 1979 the rates were approximately equal.
Full prose proficiency,[note 9] as measured by the ability to process complex and challenging material similar to would be encountered in everyday life, is achieved by about 13% of the general population, 17% of white people, and 2% of African American people. However 86% of the general population had basic or higher prose proficiency as of 2003, with a decrease seen among all in the full proficiency group.[verification needed] According to the website of the museum Planet Word in Washington, DC, some 32 million adults in the US cannot read.
Cultural and westernized literacy for Native Americans in the United States
Before colonization, oral storytelling and communication composed most, if not all, Native American literacy. Native people communicated and retained their histories verbally—it was not until the beginning of American Indian boarding schools that reading and writing were forced onto Native Americans. Many students ran away from these schools in an attempt to hold on to their cultural identity and the literary traditions of their community. While this formalized literacy prepared Native youth to exist in the changing society, it destroyed all traces of their cultural literacy. Native children would return to their families unable to communicate with them due to the loss of their indigenous languages. In the 20th and 21st century, there is still a struggle to learn and maintain cultural languages, however education initiatives and programs have, in general, increased; according to the 2010 census, 86% of Native Americans and Alaska Natives have high school diplomas, and 28% have a bachelor's degree or higher.
US public library efforts
The public library has long been a force promoting literacy in many countries. In the US, the American Library Association promotes literacy through the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services. This committee is tasked with ensuring equitable access to information and advocating for adult new and non-readers. The Public Library Association recognizes the importance of the early childhood period in the development of literacy and created, in collaboration with the Association for Library Service to Children, a program called "Every Child Ready to Read @ your library" in order to inform and support parents and caregivers in their efforts to raise children to become literate adults.
The release of the National Assessment of Adult Literacy report in 2005 revealed that approximately 14% of US adults function at the lowest level of literacy, and 29% at the basic functional literacy level and cannot help their children with homework beyond the first few grades. A lack of reading skills hinders adults from reaching their full potential—they might have difficulty getting and maintaining a job, providing for their families, or even reading a story to their children. For adults, the library might be the only source of a literacy program.
30 April: Dia! Diversity in Action
Dia!, which stands for Diversity in Action and is also known as "El Día de los Niños/El día de los libros" (Children's Day/Book Day), is a program which celebrates the importance of reading to children from all cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Dia! is celebrated every year on 30 April in schools, libraries, and homes, and their website provides tools and programs to encourage reading in children. Parents, caregivers, and educators can even start a book club.
This community literacy program was initiated in 1992 by the Orange County public library in California. The mission of READ/Orange County is to "create a more literate community by providing diversified services of the highest quality to all who seek them." Potential tutors train during an extensive 23-hour workshop in which they learn the philosophy, techniques and tools they will need to work with adult learners. After the training, the tutors invest at least 50 hours a year in tutoring their student. The organization builds on people's experiences, as well as prior education, rather than trying to make up for what has not been learned. The program seeks to equip students with skills to continue learning in the future. The guiding philosophy is that an adult who learns to read creates a ripple effect in the community. The person becomes an example to children and grandchildren and can better serve the community.
Located in Boulder, Colorado, the program recognized the difficulty that adult learners had in obtaining childcare while attending tutoring sessions, and joined with the University of Colorado to provide reading buddies to the children of students. Reading Buddies matches children of adult literacy students with college students who meet with them once a week throughout the semester for an hour and a half. The college students receive course credit to try to enhance the quality and reliability of their time. Each Reading Buddies session focuses primarily on the college student reading aloud with the child. The goal is to help the child gain interest in books and feel comfortable reading aloud. Time is also spent on word games, writing letters, or searching for books in the library. Throughout the semester the pair work on writing and illustrating a book together. The college student's grade is partly dependent on the completion of the book. Although Reading Buddies began primarily as an answer to the lack of child care for literacy students, it has evolved into another aspect of the BoulderReads! program. Participating children show marked improvement in their reading and writing skills throughout the semester.
Hillsborough Literacy Council (HLC)
Approximately 120,000 adults in Hillsborough County, Florida are illiterate or read below the fourth-grade level; according to 2003 census statistics, 15% of Hillsborough County residents age 16 and older lacked basic prose literacy skills. Since 1986, the Hillsborough Literacy Council (HLC) is "committed to improving literacy by empowering adults through education". Sponsored by the statewide Florida Literacy Coalition and affiliated with Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, HLC strives to improve the literacy ability of adults in the county. Using library space, the HLC provides tutoring in English for speakers of other languages in small groups or one-on-one tutoring. Through one-on-one tutoring, the organization works to help adult students reach at least the fifth–grade level in reading. The organization also provides volunteer-run conversation groups for English practice.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2023)
In 1964, Paulo Freire was arrested and exiled for teaching peasants to read. However, since democracy returned to Brazil there has been a steady increase in the percentage of literate people. Educators with the Axé project in the city of Salvador, Bahía attempt to improve literacy rates among urban youth, especially youth living on the streets, through the use of cultural music and dances. Then, "they are encouraged to go on learning and become professional artists.": 284
The literacy rates in Africa vary significantly between countries. The registered literacy rate in Libya was 86.1% in 2004 and UNESCO says that literacy rate in the region of Equatorial Guinea is approximately 95%, while the literacy rate in South Sudan is approximately 27%.
In sub-Saharan Africa, youth from wealthier families often have more educational opportunities to become literate than poorer youth, who may need to leave school because they are needed at home to farm or care for siblings. Additionally, the rate of literacy has not improved enough to compensate for the effects of demographic growth. As a result, the number of illiterate adults has risen by 27% over the last 20 years, reaching 169 million in 2010. Thus, out of the 775 million illiterate adults in the world in 2010, more than one fifth (20%) were in sub-Saharan Africa. The countries with the lowest levels of literacy in the world are also concentrated in this region, where adult literacy rates can be well below 50%.
|Ethiopia||37% (unofficial); 63% (official) (1984)|
|Zimbabwe||86.5% (2016 est.)|
Burkina Faso has a very low literacy rate of 28.7%, defined as anyone at least 15 years of age who can read and write. To improve the literacy rate, the government has received at least 80 volunteer teachers. A severe lack of primary school teachers causes problems for any attempt to improve the literacy rate and school enrollment.
Egypt has a relatively high literacy rate. The adult literacy rate in 2010 was estimated at 72%. Education is compulsory from ages 6 to 15 and free for all children; 93% of children enter primary school today, compared with 87% in 1994.
The Ethiopians are among the first literate people in the world, having written, read, and created manuscripts in the ancient Ge'ez language (an Amharic language) since the 2nd century CE. All boys learned to read the Psalms around the age of 7. National literacy campaign introduced in 1978 increased literacy rates to between 37% (unofficial) and 63% (official) by 1984.
Guinea has a literacy rate of 41%, defined as anyone at least 15 years old who can read or write. Guinea was the first to use the Literacy, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding (LCRP) project. This project was developed to increase agriculture production, develop key skills, resolve conflict, and improve literacy and numeracy skills. The LCRP worked within refugee camps near the border of Sierra Leone, however this project only lasted from 1999 to 2001. There are several other international projects working within the country that have similar goals.
The literacy rate in Kenya among people below 20 years of age is over 70%, as the first 8 years of primary school are provided tuition–free by the government. In January 2008, the government began offering a limited program of free secondary education. Literacy is much higher among the young than among the older population, with the total being about 81.54% for the country. Most of this literacy, however, is at an elementary level—not secondary or advanced.
In Mali in 2015, the adult literacy rate was 33%, one of the lowest in the world, with males having a 43.1% literacy rate and females a 24.6% rate. The government defines literacy as anyone at least age 15 who can read or write. In recent years the government of Mali and international organizations have taken steps to improve the literacy rate. The government recognized the slow progress and began creating ministries for basic education and literacy in their national languages in 2007; they also increased the education budget by 3%, when it was at 35% in 2007. The lack of literate adults causes the programs to be slowed—they need qualified female instructors, which is problematic as many men refuse to send female family members to be trained by male teachers.
Free education in Mauritius did not proceed beyond the primary level until 1976, so many women now in their 50s or older left school at age 12. The younger generations (below age 50) are however extremely well educated with very high educational expectations placed upon pupils. Education is now free from pre-primary to tertiary (admission fees remain only at the university level). Most professionals have at least a bachelor's degree. Mauritian students consistently rank top in the world each year for the Cambridge International O Level, International A and AS level examinations. Most Mauritian children, even at the primary school level, are tutored after school and on weekends to cope in a highly competitive public school system; admission to prestigious public colleges (secondary education) and the most sought after university courses depend on merit based academic performance.
Niger has an extremely low literacy rate at 28.7%, in part due to the gender gap—men have a literacy rate of 42.9% while for women it is only 15.1%. The Nigerien government defines literacy as anyone who can read or write over the age of 15. The Niass Tijāniyyah, a Sufi order, has started anti-poverty, empowerment, and literacy campaigns. The women in Kiota had not attempted to improve their education, or economic standing, until Saida Oumul Khadiri Niass, known as Maman and married to a leader of the Niass Tijaniyya, talked to men and women throughout the community, changing the community's beliefs on appropriate behavior for women. Maman's efforts have allowed women in Kiota to own small businesses, sell in the market place, attend literacy classes, and organize small associations that can give micro loans. Maman personally teaches children in and around Kiota, with special attention to girls. Maman has her students require instructor permission to allow the girls' parents to marry their daughters early, increasing the amount of education these girls receive, as well as delaying marriage, pregnancy, and having children.
Senegal has a literacy rate of 49.7%, defined as anyone who is at least 15 and can read and write. However, many students do not attend school long enough to be considered literate. The government did not begin actively attempting to improve the literacy rate until 1971 when it gave the responsibility to the Department for Vocational Training at the Secretariat for Youth and Sports. This department, and those that followed, had no clear policy on literacy until the Department of Literacy and Basic Education was formed in 1986. The government of Senegal relies heavily on funding from the World Bank to fund its school system.
There is no reliable data on the nationwide literacy rate in Somalia. A 2013 FSNAU survey indicates considerable differences per region, with the autonomous northeastern Puntland region having the highest registered literacy rate at 72%.[failed verification]
The Sierra Leone government defines literacy as anyone over the age of 15 who can read and write in English, Mende, Temne, or Arabic. Official statistics put the literacy rate at 43.3%. Sierra Leone was the second country to use the Literacy, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding project. However, fighting near the city where the project was centered caused delay until an arms amnesty was in place.
|Country||Adult Literacy Rate||Youth Literacy Rate|
|Afghanistan||43% (2020)||65% (2020)|
|Bangladesh||72.76 (2016)||92.24% (2016)|
|India||74.04% (2011)||89.6% (2015)|
|Nepal||67.5% (2007)||89.9% (2015)|
|Pakistan||58% (2017)||75.6% (2015)|
|Sri Lanka||92.63% (2015)||98% (2015)|
According to UNESCO, Afghanistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in South Asia, and in the world. As of 2020, over 10 million youth and adults are illiterate. However, since 2016, the country has made significant progress. While in 2016/2017 the literacy rate was 34.8%, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics recently confirmed that it has increased to 43%. "That is a remarkable 8 per cent increase." In addition, the literacy rate for youths aged 15–24 has substantially increased and now stands at 65%.
However, there are still a large number of people who lack literacy and opportunities to access continuing education. There is also a substantial gender gap: the literacy rate for men stands at 55%, while for women it is only 29.8%. The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning has provided technical support to the government of Afghanistan since 2012, with the aim of improving the literacy skills of an estimated 1.2 million people.
To improve the literacy rate, the US military taught Afghan Army recruits how to read before teaching them how to fire a weapon. In 2009, US commanders estimated that as many as 65% of recruits may be illiterate.
The People's Republic of China conducts standardized testing to assess proficiency in Standard Chinese, known as "putonghua", but this is primarily for foreigners or those needing to demonstrate professional proficiency in the Beijing dialect. While literacy in Chinese can be assessed by reading comprehension tests, just as in other languages, historically literacy has often been judged by the number of Chinese characters introduced during the speaker's schooling, with a few thousand considered the minimum for practical literacy.
The CIA World Factbook says 96.7% of Chinese people are literate, however social science surveys in China have repeatedly found that just over half the population of China is conversant in spoken putonghua. In classical Chinese civilization the access to literacy in all classes originated with Confucianism, where previously literacy was generally limited to the aristocracy, merchants, and priests.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2014)
Literacy is defined by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, as the ability of "a person aged 7 years and above to both write and read with understanding in any language." According to the 2011 census, the literacy rate stood at 74%.
In 2023 the Iranian government stopped a literacy campaign that had begun in 1930, despite 9 million people still being reported as illiterate. The government reported that elementary school education cost 5-40 million toman (approximately US$12–95 or €11–89) per child per year, 27% of children did not sign up for first grade because of cost.
Obstacles to literacy vary by country and culture as writing systems, quality of education, availability of written material, competition from other sources (television, video games, cell phones, and family obligations), and culture all influence literacy levels. In Laos, which has a phonetic alphabet, reading is relatively easy to learn—especially compared to English, where spelling and pronunciation rules are filled with exceptions, and Chinese, with thousands of symbols to be memorized. However, a lack of books and other written materials has hindered functional literacy in Laos, where many children and adults read so haltingly that the skill is hardly beneficial.
A literacy project in Laos addresses this by using what it calls "books that make literacy fun!" The project, Big Brother Mouse, publishes colorful, easy-to-read books, then delivers them during book parties at rural schools. Some of the books are modeled on successful western books by authors such as Dr. Seuss; the most popular, however, are traditional Laotian fairy tales. Two popular collections of folktales were written by Siphone Vouthisakdee, who comes from a village where only five children finished primary school.
Big Brother Mouse has also created village reading rooms, and published books for adult readers about subjects such as Buddhism, health, and baby care.
In Pakistan, the National Commission for Human Development aims to bring literacy to adults, especially women. While speaking at a function held in connection with International Literacy Day, ISLAMABAD - UNESCO Islamabad Director Kozue Kay Nagata said:
Illiteracy in Pakistan has fallen over two decades, thanks to the government and people of Pakistan for their efforts working toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals...Today, 70 percent of Pakistani youths can read and write. In 20 years, illiterate population has been reduced significantly
She also emphasised on the need to do more to improve literacy in the country saying:
The proportion of population in Pakistan lacking basic reading and writing is too high. This is a serious obstacle for individual fulfillment, to the development of societies, and to mutual understanding between peoples.
Referring to the recent national survey carried out by the Ministry of Education, Trainings and Standards in Higher Education with support of UNESCO, UNICEF, and provincial and areas departments of education, Nagata pointed out that in Pakistan, although 70% of children finish primary school, a gender gap still exists as 68% of girls finish compared to 71% of boys.
Referring specifically to Punjab, she said that while the primary school completion rate is higher at 76%, there is a gender gap of 8 percentage points: 72% of girls compared to 80% for boys. She also noted that the average cost per primary school student (ages 5-9) was higher in Punjab at Rs 6,998 (approximately US$24 or €22.5).
In Balochistan, although almost the same amount (Rs 6,985) is spent per child as in Punjab, the primary school completion rate is only 53%: 54% for girls and 52% for boys.
Literate Pakistan Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 2003, is a case study bringing to light solutions for improving literacy rates in Pakistan. Their data shows that in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, primary school completion rate is 67%, lower than the national average of 70%. Furthermore, a gender gap exists with only 65% of girls completing primary school compared to 68% of boys. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the education expenditure per student at the primary school level (age 5–9) is Rs 8,638 ($30, €28).
In Sindh, primary school completion rate is 63%, with a gender gap of 67% of girls completing primary school compared to 60% of boys.[clarification needed] In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the education expenditure per student at the primary school level (age 5–9) is Rs 5,019 ($17.50, €16.50).
Nagata, referencing the report, said that the most common reason for children ages 10-18 (both boys and girls) leaving school is "the child [is] not willing to go to school", which may be related to quality and learning outcome. She added that the second highest reason for girls living in rural communities dropping out is that their "parents did not allow" them to continue school, which might be related to prejudice and cultural norms surrounding girls.
About 91.6% of Filipinos ages 10-64 were functionally literate in 2019, according to the results of the 2019 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey; this translates to around 73.0 million out of the population of 79.7 million. Starting in 300 BCE, early Filipinos devised and used their own writing system derived from the Brahmic family of scripts of Ancient India. Baybayin became the most widespread of these derived scripts by the 11th century. Early chroniclers, who came during the first Spanish expeditions to the islands, noted the proficiency of some of the natives, especially the chieftain and local kings, in Sanskrit, Old Javanese, Old Malay, and several other languages.
During the Spanish colonization of the islands, reading materials were destroyed far less than during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Education and literacy was introduced solely to the Peninsulares and remained a privilege until the arrival of Americans, who introduced a public school system to the country, and English became the lingua franca in the Philippines. During the brief Japanese occupation of the Philippines, the Japanese were able to teach their language and teach the children their written language.
With a literacy rate of 92.5%, Sri Lanka has one of the most literate populations amongst developing nations. Its youth literacy rate stands at 98%, computer literacy rate at 35%, and primary school enrollment rate at over 99%. An education system which dictates 9 years of compulsory schooling for every child is in place. The free education system, established in 1945, is a result of the initiative of C. W. W. Kannangara and A. Ratnayake. Sri Lanka is one of the few countries in the world that provides universal free education from primary to tertiary stage.
A 2016-2017 survey of adult skills conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on behalf of the OECD found that one in five adults of working age has low literacy skills, numeracy skills, or both. The Australian Early Development Census National Report for 2021 reported that 82.6% of five year olds are on track to develop good language and cognitive skills. In 2012–2013, Australia had 1515 public library service points, lending almost 174 million items to 10 million members, at an average per capita cost of just under AU$45. By 2020-2021 this had increased to a total of 1690 library outlets with just over 9 million registered or active members.
- Balanced literacy
- Book desert
- Computational literacy
- Functional illiteracy
- International Literacy Day
- International Literacy Foundation
- Legal literacy
- List of countries by literacy rate
- Literacy in the United States
- Postliterate society
- Psychological literacy
- Right to education
- Structured literacy
- Teaching reading
- The condition of not being able to read or write well enough to do things that are needed for living and working in society - Cambridge Dictionary
- See for example: Harris, 1991.
- Pachomius, Rule 139.
- This connection is pursued in Alan K. Bowman and Greg Woolf, eds., Literacy and Power in the Ancient World, (Cambridge) 1994.
- Compensatory strategies include memorizing words, using context to guess words, and even skipping ones they do not know.
- See also: ESL
- See also: Digital literacy
- For more information see History of Wales#Early modern period to the end of the 18th century
- NCES NAAL defines "below basic", "basic", "intermediate", and (fully) "proficient".
- Street, Brian (2001). "Introduction". Literacy and Development: Ethnographic Perspectives. London: Routledge. p. 11.
- Rowsell, Jennifer; Pahl, Kate (2020). The Routledge Handbook of Literacy Studies. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-367-50172-3.
- Calvet, Louis-Jean (1999). Towards an Ecology of World Languages. Cambridge: Polity. ISBN 978-0-7456-2956-8.
- Lankshear, Colin; Knobel, Michelle (2007). "Sampling the 'New' in New Literacies". A New Literacies Sampler. New York: Peter Lang. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-8204-9523-1.
- Lindquist, Julie (2015). "Literacy". Keywords in Writing Studies. Logan: Utah State UP. pp. 99–102.
- Gee, James (1991). "Socio-Cultural Approaches to Literacy (Literacies)". Annual Review of Applied Linguistics. 12: 31–48. doi:10.1017/S0267190500002130. S2CID 146415110.
- Dijanošić, B. (2009). "Prilozi definiranju pojma funkcionalne pismenosti" [Contributions to the definition of functional literacy] (PDF). Journal of the Croatian Andragogy Society (in Croatian): 25–35.
- Réka, Vágvölgyi; Bergström, Aleksandar; Bulajić, Maria Klatte; Falk, Huettig (May 2019). "Understanding functional illiteracy from a policy, adult education, and cognition point of view: Towards a joint referent framework". Zeitschrift für Neuropsychologie. 30 (2): 111. doi:10.1024/1016-264X/a000255. S2CID 191662777.
- "Adult literacy rates, 2015 or most recent observation". Our World in Data. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
- "National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)". nces.ed.gov.
- "Measuring Literacy: Performance Levels for Adults (2005), National Academy of Sciences". 2005.
- "A Brief History of the Quantitative Literacy Movement, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching". 2021.
- "Millennium Goals Indicator, UNSTATS, 2015". Archived from the original on 16 August 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
- "EUROPEAN DECLARATION OF THE RIGHT TO LITERACY, European Literacy Policy Network" (PDF). 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 August 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
- "Defining literacy, UNESCO" (PDF). 18 October 2018.
- "Skills matter, PIAAC, OECD" (PDF). 2019.
- Skills Matter: Additional Results from the Survey of Adult Skills, OECD Skills Studies, OECD. OECD. 2019. ISBN 978-92-64-79900-4.
- "About The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)".
- "Literacy and English – Scottish Government" (PDF). p. 4.
- "What is literacy – National literacy trust". 2021. p. 1.
- "Why literacy, International literacy association". 8 February 2021. Archived from the original on 4 February 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
- "International literacy association". 2021. Archived from the original on 4 February 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
- "TIMSS and PIRLS International Study Center". timssandpirls.bc.edu.
- "Literacy and numeracy – Alberta Education". 2021.
- Kress, Gunther R. (2003). Literacy in the new media age. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-25356-7.
- David R. Cole (2009). Multiple Literacies Theory: A Deleuzian Perspective. Sense. ISBN 978-90-8790-909-3.
- Boche, Benjamin (2014). "Multiliteracies in the Classroom: Emerging Conceptions of First-Year Teachers". Journal of Language and Literacy Education. 10 (1): 114–135.
- Seidenberg, Mark (2017). Language at the speed of sight. New York, NY: Basic Books. p. 279. ISBN 978-1-5416-1715-5.
- Commission, Ontario Human Rights (2022). Right to Read inquiry report, Ontario Human Rights Commission. Ontario Human Rights Commission. ISBN 978-1-4868-5827-9.
- "Definition of computer literacy". PCMAG.
- "COMPUTER-LITERACY | English meaning - Cambridge Dictionary".
- "ISLP — Home". www.stat.auckland.ac.nz. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
- Stuart Selber (2004). Multiliteracies for a Digital Age. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 978-0-8093-2551-1.
- "Home | National Association for Media Literacy Education". namle.net.
- Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World. S.U.N.Y. Press, NY. 1991. ISBN 978-0-7914-0874-2.
- Brown, Lisa M.; Haun, Jolie N.; Peterson, Lindsay (2014). "A Proposed Disaster Literacy Model". Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. 8 (3): 267–275. doi:10.1017/dmp.2014.43. ISSN 1935-7893. PMID 24992944. S2CID 24971741.
- "What Is Health Literacy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention". 28 January 2021.
- Zarcadoolas, C.; Pleasant, A.; Greer, D. (2006). Advancing health literacy: A framework for understanding and action. San Francisco, CA.: Jossey-Bass.
- Reid, Gavin; Soler, Janet; Wearmouth, Janice, eds. (2002). Addressing Difficulties in Literacy Development: Responses at Family School Pupil and Teacher Levels. Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315015712. ISBN 978-1-315-01571-2.
- Ravid, Dorit; Tolchinsky, Liliana (2002). "Developing Linguistic Literacy: a Comprehensive Model". Journal of Child Language. 29 (2): 417–447. doi:10.1017/S0305000902005111. PMID 12109379. S2CID 9831188.
- "9 Ways to Teach Social Skills in Your Classroom, Reading Rockets". December 2019.
- Gee, James Paul (1989). "Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics: Introduction". Journal of Education. 171 (1): 5–17. doi:10.1177/002205748917100101. S2CID 58334868.
- Beach, Richard; Green, Judith; Kamil, Michael; Shanahan, Timothy, eds. (2005). Multidisciplinary perspectives on literacy research. Language & social processes (2. ed.). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press. ISBN 978-1-57273-626-9.
- Mkandwire, S. B. (2018). "Literacy versus Language: Exploring their Similarities and Differences". Journal of Lexicography and Terminology. 2 (1): 37–55.
- Lindquist, Julie (2015), Heilker, Paul; Vandenberg, Peter (eds.), "Literacy", Keywords in Writing Studies, Utah State University Press, pp. 99–102, doi:10.7330/9780874219746.c020, ISBN 978-0-87421-974-6, retrieved 19 September 2023
- Knobel, Michele (1999). Everyday Literacies: Students, Discourse, and Social Practice. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
- Street, Brian V., ed. (2001). "Introduction". Literacy and development: ethnographic perspectives. Literacies (1. publ ed.). London: Routledge. pp. 7–8. ISBN 978-0-415-23451-1.
- Street, Brian V.; Street, Brain V. (1999). Literacy in theory and practice. Cambridge studies in oral and literate culture (transferred to digital print ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-28961-0.
- Goody, Jack (1986). The Logic of Writing and the Organization of Society. Studies in Literacy, the Family, Culture and the State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/cbo9780511621598. ISBN 978-0-521-33962-9.
- "Cambridge Dictionary". 10 March 2021.
- Vágvölgyi, Réka; Coldea, Andra; Dresler, Thomas; Schrader, Josef; Nuerk, Hans-Christoph (10 November 2016). "A Review about Functional Illiteracy: Definition, Cognitive, Linguistic, and Numerical Aspects". Frontiers in Psychology. 7: 111–119. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01617. PMC 5102880. PMID 27891100.
- Schlechty, Phillip C. (27 April 2004). Shaking Up the Schoolhouse: How to Support and Sustain Educational Innovation, Ch. 1, Introduction (PDF). Catdir.loc.gov. ISBN 978-0-7879-7213-4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
- Bulajić, Aleksandar; Despotović, Miomir; Lachmann, Thomas (May 2019). "Understanding functional illiteracy from a policy, adult education, and cognition point of view: Towards a joint referent framework". Zeitschrift für Neuropsychologie. 30 (2): 117. doi:10.1024/1016-264X/a000255. S2CID 191662777.
- Réka, Vágvölgyi; Bergström, Aleksandar; Bulajić, Maria Klatte; Falk, Huettig (May 2019). "Understanding functional illiteracy from a policy, adult education, and cognition point of view: Towards a joint referent framework". Zeitschrift für Neuropsychologie. 30 (2): 109–122. doi:10.1024/1016-264X/a000255. S2CID 191662777.
- Brodkey, Linda (1996). "Literacy as a Discursive Practice". Writing Permitted in Designated Areas Only. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 3–7. ISBN 978-0-8166-2806-3.
- Chrisomalis, Stephen (2009). "The Origins and Coevolution of Literacy and Numeracy". In Olsen, D; Torrance, N. (eds.). The Cambridge Handbook of Literacy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 59–74.
- "Writing Systems" (PDF). Retrieved 5 August 2018.
- Yuval Noah Harari (2014). Sapiens. McClelland and Stewart, Penguin Random House. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-7710-3851-8.
- Easton, P. "History and spread of literacy". Sustaining Literacy in Africa: Developing a Literate Environment. Paris: UNESCO Press. pp. 46–56.
- Schmandt-Besserat, D (1978). "The earliest precursor of writing". Scientific American. 238 (6): 38–47. Bibcode:1978SciAm.238f..50S. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0678-50. S2CID 121339828.
- Charpin, Dominique (15 November 2010). Writing, Law, and Kingship in Old Babylonian Mesopotamia. University of Chicago Press. pp. 7–24. ISBN 978-0-226-10159-0.
- Veldhuis, Niek (2011). "Levels of Literacy," The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture (PDF). Oxford University Press. pp. 68–73. ISBN 978-0-19-174359-7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2021. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
- Radner, K.; Robson, E., eds. (2011). The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Barbieri-Low, A.; Yates, R. (2015). Law, state, and society in early Imperial China: Study and translation of the legal texts from Zhangjiashan Tomb no. 247. Leiden: Brill.
- Goody, Jack (1999). The interface between the written and the oral. Studies in literacy, family, culture and the state (Repr. 1993, transferred to digital printing 1999 ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. pp. 40–51. ISBN 978-0-521-33268-2.
- Cross, Frank Moore. "Newly Found Inscriptions in Old Canaanite and Early Phoenician Scripts". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 238 (Spring, 1980): 1–20.
- McCarter, P. Kyle (September 1974). "The Early Diffusion of the Alphabet". The Biblical Archaeologist. 37 (3): 54–68. doi:10.2307/3210965. ISSN 0006-0895.
- Harris, William V. (1991). Ancient literacy (1st Harvard University Press pbk. ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-03381-8. OCLC 436359723.
- Wright, Brian J. (2015). "Ancient Literacy in New Testament Research: Incorporating a Few More Lines of Enquiry". Trinity Journal. 36: 161–189.
- Kolb, Anne, ed. (2018). Literacy in Ancient Everyday Life. Boston: De Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-059188-0.
- Di Renzo, Anthony (2000). "His master's voice: Tiro and the rise of the roman secretarial class" (PDF). Journal of Technical Writing and Communication. 30 (2): 155–168. doi:10.2190/b4yd-5fp7-1w8d-v3uc. S2CID 153369618.
- Dupont, Florence; Dupont, Florence (1997). Daily life in ancient Rome (1. publ. in paperback, repr ed.). Oxford: Blackwell. p. 223. ISBN 978-0-631-19395-1.
- Elsner, Jaś (1998). Imperial Rome and Christian triumph: the art of the Roman Empire AD 100-450. Oxford history of art (1. publ ed.). Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-19-284201-5.
- Macdonald, M. C. A. (2010). "Ancient Arabia and the written word". Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies. 40: 8–9. JSTOR 41224041.
- "How religion may affect educational attainment: scholarly theories and historical background". Pew Research Centre. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
- "The origins of children's literature". British Library. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
- "Street literature". British Library. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
- "Victorian readers". British Library. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
- "Print culture". British Library. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
- Hamerow, Theodore S. (1998). The birth of a new Europe: state and society in the 19. century. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Pr. pp. 148–174. ISBN 978-0-8078-4239-3.
- UNESCO (2017). Reading the past, writing the future: Fifty years of promoting literacy (PDF). Paris, UNESCO. pp. 21–23, 26. ISBN 978-92-3-100214-4.
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics (September 2015). "Adult and Youth Literacy" (PDF). UIS Fact Sheet. No. 32. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- UIS. "Education: Literacy rate". data.uis.unesco.org. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- Wagner, Daniel A.; Tuz Zahra, Fatima; Lee, Jinsol (2016). "Literacy Development: Global Research and Policy Perspectives". In Gielen, Uwe P.; Roopnarine, Jaipaul L. (eds.). Childhood and adolescence: cross-cultural perspectives and applications (Second ed.). Santa Barbara, California Denver, Colorado: Praeger. pp. 105–106. ISBN 978-1-4408-3223-9.
- "THE 17 GOALS | Department of Economic and Social Affairs". sdgs.un.org. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
- "Adult literacy rate, population 15+ years, male (%)". Our World in Data. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
- "Adult literacy rate, population 15+ years, female (%)". Our World in Data. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
- Dorius, Shawn F.; Firebaugh, Glenn (1 July 2010). "Trends in Global Gender Inequality". Social Forces. 88 (5): 1941–1968. doi:10.1353/sof.2010.0040. ISSN 0037-7732. PMC 3107548. PMID 21643494.
- "Education and Health: Where do Gender Differences Really Matter?". Gender Equality and Development: World Development Report (PDF) (Report). Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 April 2019.[moved resource?]
- Agnaou, Fatima (1 January 2004). Gender, Literacy, and Empowerment in Morocco. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-94765-7.
- Nussbaum, Martha C. (1 January 2004). "Women's Education: A Global Challenge". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 29 (2): 332–333. doi:10.1086/378571. ISSN 0097-9740. S2CID 144593937.
- Hill, M. Anne; King, Elizabeth (1 July 1995). "Women's education and economic well-being". Feminist Economics. 1 (2): 21–46. doi:10.1080/714042230. ISSN 1354-5701.
- "The Economic and Social Cost of Illiteracy: A Snapshot of Illiteracy in a Global Context" (PDF). World Literacy Foundation. 24 August 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- Al-Mekhlafy, Tawfiq A. (2008). "Strategies for Gender Equality in Basic and Secondary Education: A Comprehensive and Integrated Approach in the Republic of Yemen". In Tembon, Mercy; Fort, Lucia (eds.). Girls' Education in the 21st Century: Gender Equality, Empowerment, and Economic Growth (PDF). Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 August 2019.[moved resource?]
- Wodon, Quentin; et al. (September 2015). "Child Marriage and the 2030 Agenda: Selected Findings from Early Research". The Economic Impacts of Child Marriage. Archived from the original on 4 April 2023.
- Field, Erica; Ambrus, Attila (1 October 2008). "Early Marriage, Age of Menarche, and Female Schooling Attainment in Bangladesh". Journal of Political Economy. 116 (5): 881–930. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.662.7231. doi:10.1086/593333. ISSN 0022-3808. S2CID 215805592.
- Nguyen, Minh Cong; Wodon, Quentin (September 2014), "Impact of Child Marriage on Literacy and Education Attainment in Africa", in Wodon, Quentin (ed.), Child Marriage and Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (PDF), Washington D.C.: World Bank, archived from the original (PDF) on 29 June 2016
- Parsons, Jennifer; Edmeades, Jeffrey; Kes, Aslihan; Petroni, Suzanne; Sexton, Maggie; Wodon, Quentin (3 July 2015). "Economic Impacts of Child Marriage: A Review of the Literature". The Review of Faith & International Affairs. 13 (3): 12–22. doi:10.1080/15570274.2015.1075757. hdl:10986/23530. ISSN 1557-0274. S2CID 146194521.
- Watson, Anne; Kehler, Michael; Martino, Wayne (1 February 2010). "The Problem of Boys' Literacy Underachievement: Raising Some Questions". Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. 53 (5): 356–361. doi:10.1598/JAAL.53.5.1. ISSN 1936-2706. S2CID 35301500.
- Senn, Nicole (1 November 2012). "Effective Approaches to Motivate and Engage Reluctant Boys in Literacy". The Reading Teacher. 66 (3): 211–220. doi:10.1002/TRTR.01107. ISSN 1936-2714.
- Manitoba Education; Citizenship and Youth (January 2006). Me Read? No Way!: A Practical Guide to Improving Boys' Literacy Skills. Government of Manitoba. ISBN 978-0-7711-3506-4.
- "Phonics. It's Profitable". The Phonics Page. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2007.
- Rao, Vasudeva; S, B.; Gupta, P. Viswanadha (31 March 2006). "Low Female Literacy: Factors and Strategies". Australian Journal of Adult Learning. 46 (1): 84–95. ISSN 1443-1394.
- Hanemann, Ulrike (30 November 2014). Transforming Our World: Literacy for Sustainable Development. UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. p. 7. ISBN 978-92-820-1200-0.
- Scott, Kirsty (7 July 2010). "Prison library helps to transform lives". The Guardian.
- Hackman, D; Gallop, R; Farah, M.J. (2015). "Socioeconomics status and executive function: Developmental trajectories and mediation". Developmental Science. 18 (5): 686–702. doi:10.1111/desc.12246. PMID 25659838.
- Haft, S; Hoeft, F (2017). "Poverty's impact on children's executive function: Global considerations". New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. 158: 71.
- Wadsworth, M. E.; Rienks, S. L. (1 July 2012), "Stress as a mechanism of poverty's ill effects on children", CYF News (Newsletter), archived from the original on 17 July 2019
- Anderson, Sara; Leventhal, Tama (2014). "Exposure to Neighborhood Affluence and Poverty in Childhood and Adolescence and Academic Achievement and Behavior". Applied Developmental Science. 18 (3): 125. doi:10.1080/10888691.2014.924355. S2CID 144971888.
- Sulkunen, Sari (2013). "Adolescent Literacy in Europe-An Urgent Call for Action". European Journal of Education. 48 (4): 530. doi:10.1111/ejed.12052 – via ERIC.
- Hart, B; Risley, Todd. "The Family Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3" (PDF). American Educator. 27 (1): 4–9.
- Knapp, Nancy (2016). The Psychology of Reading: Theory and Applications. New York: Guildford Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-4625-2350-4.
- Lipina, Sebastian; Segretin, Soledad; Hermida, Julia; Prats, Lucia; Fracchia, Carolina; Camelo, Jorge; Colombo, Jorge (2013). "Linking childhood poverty and cognition: environmental mediators of non-verbal executive control in an Argentine sample". Developmental Science. 16 (5): 697–707. doi:10.1111/desc.12080. PMID 24033575.
- Lee, Kyunghee (2009). "The Bidirectional Effects of Early Poverty on Children's Reading and Home Environment Scores: Associations and Ethnic Differences". Social Work Research. 33 (2): 79–94. doi:10.1093/swr/33.2.79.
- Puchner, Laurel D. (1 July 1995). "Literacy links: Issues in the relationship between early childhood development, health, women, families, and literacy". International Journal of Educational Development. 15 (3): 307–319. doi:10.1016/0738-0593(94)00041-M.
- LeVine, Robert A.; Rowe, Meredith L. (2009). "Maternal Literacy and Child Health in Less-Developed Countries: Evidence, Processes, and Limitations". Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. 30 (4): 340–349. doi:10.1097/dbp.0b013e3181b0eeff. PMID 19672161. S2CID 21609263.
- Okoji, O. F.; Ladeji, O. O. (2014). "Influence of Adult Literacy Education on Socio-Economic Empowerment of Rural Women in Oyo State, Nigeria". Gender & Behaviour. 12 (3): 6016–6026.
- "Policy Brief on Adult Literacy Strategy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- Korotayev, Andrey; Zinkina, Julia; Bogevolnov, Justislav; Malkov, Artemy (2011). "Global Unconditional Convergence among Larger Economies after 1998?". Journal of Globalization Studies. 2 (2).
- Beckman, Paula J.; Gallo, Jessica (October 2015). "Rural Education in a Global Context". Global Education Review. 2 (4): 7. ISSN 2325-663X. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
- Bartlett, Lesley; Frazier, Julia (2017). "Literacy and Development". In McGrath, Simon; Gu, Qing (eds.). Routledge handbook of international education and development. Routledge handbooks (First issued in paperback 2017 ed.). London New York: Routledge,Taylor & Francis Group. ISBN 978-1-138-07076-9.
- Eldred, Janine; Robinson-Pant, Anna; Nabi, Rafat; Chopra, Priti; Nussey, Charlotte; Bown, Lalage (4 July 2014). "Women's right to learning and literacy: Women learning literacy and empowerment" (PDF). Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education. 44 (4): 655–675. doi:10.1080/03057925.2014.911999. ISSN 0305-7925. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016.[moved resource?]
- Kairies, Jan; UNESCO, eds. (2013). Literacy programmes with a focus on women to reduce gender disparities: case studies from UNESCO Effective Literacy and Numeracy Practices Database (PDF). Hamburg: UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. ISBN 978-92-820-1182-9. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 July 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
- UNESCO (2006). "Mapping the Global Literacy Challenge". Education for All Global Monitoring Report (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2019.[moved resource?]
- "Our Approach". LitWorld®. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
- Lechner, Clemens M.; Gauly, Britta; Miyamoto, Ai; Wicht, Alexandra (1 October 2021). "Stability and change in adults' literacy and numeracy skills: Evidence from two large-scale panel studies". Personality and Individual Differences. 180: 110990. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2021.110990. ISSN 0191-8869.
- Wicht, Alexandra; Durda, Tabea; Krejcik, Luise; Artelt, Cordula; Grotlüschen, Anke; Rammstedt, Beatrice; Lechner, Clemens M. (12 March 2021). "Low Literacy is not Set in Stone". Zeitschrift für Pädagogik (in German). 67 (1). doi:10.3262/ZPB2101109. ISSN 0514-2717.
- Brandt, Deborah (2001). Literacy in American Lives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/cbo9780511810237. ISBN 978-0-521-78315-6.
- Wicht, Alexandra; Rammstedt, Beatrice; Lechner, Clemens M. (2 January 2021). "Predictors of Literacy Development in Adulthood: Insights from a Large-scale, Two-wave Study". Scientific Studies of Reading. 25 (1): 84–92. doi:10.1080/10888438.2020.1751635. ISSN 1088-8438. S2CID 219100241.
- Reder, Stephen; Gauly, Britta; Lechner, Clemens (1 June 2020). "Practice makes perfect: Practice engagement theory and the development of adult literacy and numeracy proficiency". International Review of Education. 66 (2): 267–288. Bibcode:2020IREdu..66..267R. doi:10.1007/s11159-020-09830-5. ISSN 1573-0638. S2CID 219050030.
- Jeni Klugman; Francisco Rodriguez; Hyung-Jin Choi (April 2011). "The HDI 2010: New Controversies, Old Critiques" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. p. 19. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 February 2016.
- Stromquist, Nelly (17 March 2016). "Adult Literacy and Women: A Present Account". Dialogues in Social Justice: An Adult Education Journal. 1 (1).
- "Learning Poverty is a combined measure of schooling and learning". World Bank. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
- "PISA for Development - PISA". www.oecd.org. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
- "PISA-D Reveals Exceptionally Low Learning". RISE Programme. 30 January 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
- "Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above) | Data". ourworldindata.org. Retrieved 5 February 2023.
- "How is literacy measured?". Our World in Data. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
- "Students in grade 2 who can't read a single word, ca 2015". Our World in Data. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
- Pritchett, Lant; Sandefur, Justin (2020). "Girls' schooling and women's literacy: schooling targets alone won't reach learning goals". International Journal of Educational Development. 78: 102242. doi:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2020.102242.
- Benson Mkandwire, Sitwe (2018). "Literacy versus Language: Exploring their Similarities and Differences". Journal of Lexicography and Terminology. 2 (1): 37–55 .
- Adult education: the Hamburg Declaration; the Agenda for the Future. International Conference on Adult Education, 5th, Hamburg, Germany, 1997. UNESCO Institute for Education. 1997. p. 6. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
- "Fifth International Conference on Adult Education (1997) - CONFINTEA V". 15 February 2018. Archived from the original on 24 December 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
- Belalcázar, Carolina (2015). Mobile phones and literacy: Empowerment in Women's Hands; A Cross-Case Analysis of Nine Experiences (PDF). UNESCO. ISBN 978-92-3-100123-9.
- "European literacy policy network (ELINET)". Archived from the original on 30 December 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
- "European Declaration of the Right to Literacy". 2016.
- Spivey, N. N.; King, J. R. (1994). "Readers as writers compose from sources". In Ruddell, Robert B.; Unrau, Norman (eds.). Theoretical models and processes of reading. Newark, Del: Internat. Reading Assoc. pp. 668–694. ISBN 978-0-87207-502-3.
- Graham, Steve (September 2020). "The Sciences of Reading and Writing Must Become More Fully Integrated". Reading Research Quarterly. 55 (S1): S35–S44. doi:10.1002/rrq.332. ISSN 0034-0553.
- Graham, Steve; Liu, Xinghua; Aitken, Angelique; Ng, Clarence; Bartlett, Brendan; Harris, Karen R.; Holzapfel, Jennifer (2018). "Effectiveness of Literacy Programs Balancing Reading and Writing Instruction: A Meta-Analysis". Reading Research Quarterly. 53 (3): 279–304. doi:10.1002/rrq.194.
- Graham, S.; Harris, K.; Santangelo, T. (2015). "Research-based writing practices and the common core". The Elementary School Journal. 115 (4): 498–522.
- Graham, S.; Perin, D. (2007). Writing Next: Effective strategies to improve writing of adolescent middle and high school. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellence in Education.
- National Reading Panel (U.S.); National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U.S.) (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and Its Implications for Reading Instruction: Reports of the Subgroups. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development National Institutes of Health. OCLC 47848860.
- "Glossary of Reading Terms - The Cognitive Foundations of Learning to Read: A Framework". Sedl.org. 23 April 2008. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- Paul Halsall. "Chinese Cultural Studies: Chinese Logographic Writing". Acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- Carter, V. Elaine (November 2000). New approaches to literacy learning: A guide for teacher educators (PDF) (Report). UNESCO.
- Ktori, M.; Mousikou, P.; Rastle, K. (2018). "Sublexical: the parts of a word (i.e. letters, phonemes & graphemes), Cues to Stress Assignment in Reading Aloud, Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2018". Journal of Experimental Psychology. General. 147 (1): 36–61. doi:10.1037/xge0000380. PMC 5765884. PMID 29309196.
- "Glossary". LD OnLine. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- Graham, S.; Hebert, M.A. (2010). Writing to read: Evidence for how writing can improve reading. A Carnegie Corporation Time to Act Report. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education.
- "An Explanation of Structured Literacy, and a Comparison to Balanced Literacy | Iowa Reading Research Center". iowareadingresearch.org. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- Hanford, Emily. "How a flawed idea is teaching millions of kids to be poor readers". www.apmreports.org. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- "THREE CUEING SYSTEMS USED TO IDENTIFY WORDS DURING READING". www.linkedin.com. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- Timothy Shanahan, Reading Rockets (1 April 2019). "Is It a Good Idea to Teach the Three Cueing Systems in Reading".
- Mark Seidenberg (2017). Language at the speed of light. Basic Books. pp. 300–304. ISBN 978-0-465-08065-6.
- Hempenstall, Dr Kerry (29 October 2017). "The three-cueing system in reading: Will it ever go away". National Institute for Direct Instruction. Retrieved 5 February 2023.
- Stanislas Dehaene (26 October 2010). Reading in the brain. Penguin Books. pp. 222–228. ISBN 978-0-14-311805-3.
- Massaro, D. W. (2012). "Acquiring Literacy Naturally: Behavioral science and technology could empower preschool children to learn to read naturally without instruction". American Scientist. 100 (4): 324–333. doi:10.1511/2012.97.324.
- Center for National Policy, Washington DC, What States Can Do, 2 May 2012
- Bernhardt, Anna Caroline; Yorozu, Rika; Medel-Añonuevo, Carolyn (2014). "Literacy and life skills education for vulnerable youth: What policy makers can do". International Review of Education. 60 (2): 279–299. Bibcode:2014IREdu..60..279B. doi:10.1007/s11159-014-9419-z. S2CID 143930297.
- Snow, Catherine (Winter 2001). "Learning to Read in an L2". TESOL Quarterly. 35 (4): 599–601. doi:10.2307/3588432. JSTOR 3588432.
- Pearson; Pellerine (2010). "Teaching for Understanding in Higher Education: A Framework for Developing Literacy within a TESOL Context". Archived from the original on 22 October 2017.
- Patl, Anjuli (15 June 2016). "How an educator from Nova Scotia uses cameras to teach English in Ethiopia".
- Pellerine, Stephen. "Alternative Literacy".
- Perez, Andrea. "Why every picture tells a story - EL Gazette". Archived from the original on 13 September 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
- Hutchison; Woodward (March 2014). "A Planning Cycle for Integrating Digital Technology Into Literacy Instruction". TOC. 67 (6): 455–464.
- Tubergen, F. (2006), Immigrant Integration: A Cross National Study, Scholarly Publishing
- Warschauer, Mark; Matuchniak, Tina (March 2010). "New Technology and Digital Worlds: Analyzing Evidence of Equity in Access, Use, and Outcomes". Review of Research in Education. 34 (1): 179–225. doi:10.3102/0091732X09349791. ISSN 0091-732X.
- Pagtakhan (2016). "Language requirement for citizenship unnecessary, Reis Pagtakhan writes: Immigrants must pass a language test to become Canadian citizens years after they arrive". CBC News. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
- "English Language". New Zealand Immigration. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
- "Which English language tests are accepted by the Department? Department of Immigration and Border Protection". Australian Government. Archived from the original on 1 June 2017.[moved resource?]
- "Who Can Take the Naturalization Test in their Native Languages?". www.us-immigration.com. 27 June 2014. Archived from the original on 13 September 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
- "The art of teaching - ELgazette". digital.elgazette.com. Archived from the original on 20 June 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
- Coughlan, Sean (7 September 2018). "Kate Winslet warns of 'shame' of illiteracy". BBC.
- Tomlin, R.S.O. (2011). "Writing and Communication". In Allason-Jones, Lindsay (ed.). Artefacts in Roman Britain: their purpose and use. Cambridge New York: Cambridge university press. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-521-86012-3.
- Baker, John R. (2002). An Introduction to English Legal History. London: Butterworths LexisNexis. ISBN 978-0-406-93053-8.
- Lyons, Martyn (2011). Books: A Living History (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Getty Publications. p. 98. ISBN 978-1-60606-083-4.
- Bornstein, Mark H. (2018). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development. National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, Bethesda, MD. ISBN 978-1-5063-0765-7.
- Lyons, Martyn (2011). Books: A Living History (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Getty Publications. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-60606-083-4.
- Ernest Gellner (1983). Nations and Nationalism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-9263-1.
- Houston, Rab (2014). Literacy in early modern Europe: culture and education, 1500-1800 (2nd ed.). Oxfordshire, England: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-582-36810-1. OCLC 884586117.
- Graff, Harvey J. (1991). The literacy myth: cultural integration and social structure in the nineteenth century. Transaction Publishers. p. xxvi. ISBN 978-0-88738-884-2.
- Furet, François (1977). Lire et écrire: l'alphabétisation des Français de Calvin à Jules Ferry (in French). Paris: Editions de Minuit. p. 353.
- Curtis, Bruce (2007). "Beyond Signature Literacy: New Research Directions". Historical Studies in Education. 19 (Fall Special Issue): 1–12. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Magnuson, Roger (1985). "Two myths in New France education". McGill Journal of Education. 20 (3). Archived from the original on 4 February 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2012. citing:
- For 1680–1699: Roy, Raymond; Landry, Yves; Charbonneau, Hubert (June 1977). "Quelques comportements des canadiens au XVIIe siècle d'après les registres paroissiaux". Revue d'histoire de l'Amérique française (in French). 31 (65): 67.
- For 1657–1715: Dechêne, Louise (1974). Habitants et marchands de Montréal au XVIIe siècle (in French). Paris: Plon. p. 467.
- For 1745–1754: Greer, Allan (November 1978). "The pattern of literacy in Quebec, 1745-1899". Histoire Sociales/Social History. 11 (22): 299.
- "Newspapers". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica-Dominion Institute. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- Aliaga-Buchenau, Ana-Isabel (2004). Dangerous Potential of Reading: Readers and the Negotiation of Power in Selected Nineteenth-Century Narratives. New York: Routledge. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-415-96833-1.
- "History of Education". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica-Dominion Institute. Archived from the original on 17 November 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
- Thomas, Audrey M. (1983), "Adult Illiteracy in Canada—A Challenge", Occasional Paper 42, Ottawa: Canadian Commission for UNESCO, archived from the original on 19 July 2012
- Green, A; MacKinnon, M.; Minns, C. (2005). "Conspicuous by their absence: French Canadians and the settlement of the Canadian West" (PDF). The Journal of Economic History. 65 (3): 822–849. doi:10.1017/S0022050705000306. JSTOR 3875019. S2CID 232330754.
- Murphy, Sharon (2012). "Regaining Pleasure in the Teaching of Reading". Language Arts. 89 (5): 318–328. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- UNESCO. "Functional Literacy in Eastern and Western Europe" (PDF). UNESCO Institute for Education. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
- Literacy for Life: Further Results from the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey. OECD Publishing. 20 December 2011. doi:10.1787/9789264091269-en. ISBN 9789264091269. Retrieved 5 February 2023.
- "Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)". 3.statcan.gc.ca. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- "Analfabetismo. Cuéntame de México". cuentame.inegi.org.mx. Archived from the original on 21 October 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- Goodell, William (1853). The American slave code in theory and practice: its distinctive features shown by its statues, judicial decisions, and illustrative facts. New York: American and foreign anti-slavery society. pp. 319–325.
- "National Assessment of Adult Literacy". U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences' National Center for Education Statistics (IES:NCES). Archived from the original on 24 July 2023. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
- "NAAL web site graphic". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- "Average scores increase for Blacks and Asians, Decrease for Hispanics" (PDF). Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- "SAT reading scores drop to lowest point in decades". Washington Post. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- "Students Bombed the SAT This Year, in Four Charts". bloomberg.com. September 2015.
- "Literacy matters". Museum Planet Word. 2020.
- "American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month: November 2011". United States Census Bureau.
- McCook, Kathleen de la Peña (2011). Introduction to Public Librarianship. New York: Neal-Schuman. pp. 58–59.
- "Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS) | Offices of the American Library Association". Archived from the original on 26 March 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- "About – Every Child Ready to Read". www.everychildreadytoread.org.
- Weibel, M.C. (2007). Adult Learners Welcome Here: A Handbook for Librarians and Literacy Teachers. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc. ISBN 978-1-55570-578-7.
- Selnick, S. (2004). "READ/Orange County: Changing lives through literacy". Public Libraries. 43 (1): 53–56.
- "El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day)". Association for Library Service to Children - a division of the American library association. Archived from the original on 31 August 2023. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
- Sherry, D. (2004). "Providing reading buddies for the children of adult literacy students: One way to provide onsite child care while also addressing intergenerational illiteracy". Colorado Libraries. 31 (1): 40–42.
- Daniels, E. (2 May 2012). "English class vital for students, fulfilling for volunteer teachers". The Tampa Tribune. p. 9.
- "Hillsborough Literacy Council". 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
- "English Practice Groups – Hillsborough Literacy Council".
- Lownd, Peter. "Freire's Life and Work". Paulo Freire Institute at UCLA. Archived from the original on 10 December 2006.
- Baer, Werner (2007). The Brazilian economy: growth and development (6th ed.). Boulder, CO: L. Rienner Publishers. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-58826-475-6.
- "Libya Adult literacy rate, 1960-2019 - knoema.com". Knoema. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
- "Equatorial Guinea". uis.unesco.org. 27 November 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
- "Equatorial Guinea Adult literacy rate, 1960-2019". knoema.com. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
- "South Sudan". uis.unesco.org. 27 November 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
- "Information bulletin: School and teaching resources in sub-Saharan Africa" (PDF). UNESCO. 2012.
- "Digital Services for Education in Africa" (PDF). UNESCO. 2015. p. 17.
- "National Population and Housing Census 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 18 September 2023.
- DK Publishing (2012). Compact Atlas of the World. Penguin. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-7566-9859-1.
- "National adult literacy rates (15+), youth literacy rates (15-24) and elderly literacy rates (65+)". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- Ministry of Information of Eritrea. "Adult Education Program gaining momentum: Ministry". Shabait. Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
- Weninger, Stefan (2011). Semitic Languages: An International Handbook. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
- "2011 POPULATION CENSUS — MAIN RESULTS" (PDF). Economic and Social Indicators. Statistics Mauritius, Government Portal of Mauritius. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- "Family Ties: Remittances and Livelihoods Support in Puntland and Somaliland" (PDF). FSNAU. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- "The World Factbook". CIA. Archived from the original on 24 November 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- "Volunteer teachers combat illiteracy in Burkina Faso". United Nations Development Programme. Archived from the original on 10 May 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Thomas P. Ofcansky; LaVerle Berry, eds. (1991). "Literacy". Ethiopia: A Country Study. Washington, D.C.: GPO for the Library of Congress. ISBN 978-0-8444-0739-5.
- McCaffery, Juliet (December 2005). "Using transformative models of adult literacy in conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes at community level: examples from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Sudan". Compare: A Journal of Comparative Education. 35 (4): 443–462. doi:10.1080/03057920500368548. S2CID 144494846.
- "Education Statistics". datatopics.worldbank.org. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
- "Mali: Still a long way to go to meet adult literacy targets". IRIN. 17 April 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Barnes, Shailly (2009). "RELIGION SOCIAL CAPITAL AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE SAHEL: THE NIASS TIJANIYYA IN NIGER". Journal of International Affairs. 62 (2): 209–221. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
- Nordtveit, Bjorn (May 2008). "Producing Literacy and Civil Society: The Case of Senegal". Comparative Education Review. 52 (2): 175–198. doi:10.1086/528761. hdl:10722/57348. S2CID 54071719.
- "Interview: "Literacy rate in Afghanistan increased to 43 per cent", UNESCO". 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 5 December 2021. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
- "Unesco: Bangladesh literacy rate reaches all-time high of 72.76% in 2016". dhakatribune.com. 21 March 2018.
- "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 20 December 2021. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
- "Census of India". Archived from the original on 23 April 2022.
- "UNESCO Institute for Statistics". Stats.uis.unesco.org. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
- "UNESCO Institute for Statistics". Stats.uis.unesco.org. Archived from the original on 17 January 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
- Reporter, A (27 April 2018). "No improvement in literacy rate". dawn.com.
- "UNESCO Institute for Statistics". Stats.uis.unesco.org. Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
- "Functional Literacy Rate is Estimated at 91.6 Percent in 2019 | Philippine Statistics Authority". Archived from the original on 14 December 2020.
- "Annual Report 2010" (PDF). Ministry of Finance – Sri Lanka. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "Sri Lanka – literacy rate". indexmundi.com.
- Baron, Kevin (10 December 2009). "United States Training Plan for Afghanistan: Read First, Shoot Later". STARS AND STRIPES.
- "More than half of Chinese can speak mandarin". China View. 7 March 2007. Archived from the original on 15 March 2007.
- "Beijing says 400 million Chinese cannot speak Mandarin". BBC News. 6 September 2013.
- "Chapter 6: "State of Literacy of Rural Urban Population".". 2011 Census of India. India: Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Office of the Registrar and Census Commissioner. 2011.
- "The literacy movement is facing a shortage of human resources" نهضت سوادآموزی با کمبود نیروی انسانی مواجه است.
- "The condition of receiving more than the approved tuition fees in non-government schools was announced" شرط دریافت مبالغی بیش از شهریه مصوب در مدارس غیردولتی اعلام شد. Archived from the original on 29 August 2023. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
- "27% of first graders have not registered" ۲۷ درصد کلاس اولیها ثبت نام نکردهاند. Archived from the original on 19 September 2023. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
- "Adult literacy rate (both sexes) (% aged 15 and above)". International human development indicators. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
- Krausz, Tibor (21 February 2011). "Publishing Children's Books – And Delivering Them by Elephant". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- Wells, Bonnie (27 August 2010), Picturing Laos, Amherst Bulletin
- "Viasat vs HughesNet Satellite Internet".
- "Over the edge of the world: Magellan's terrifying circumnavigation of the globe". 2003.
- Gunawardena, Chandra (1997). "Problems of Illiteracy in a Literate Developing Society: Sri Lanka". International Review of Education. 43 (5/6): 595–609. Bibcode:1997IREdu..43..595G. doi:10.1023/A:1003010726149. JSTOR 3445068. S2CID 142788627.
- "Govt targets 75% computer literacy rate by 2016". The Daily News.
- "Sri Lanka – Statistics". UNICEF. Archived from the original on 30 August 2018. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- De Silva, K.M. (1981). A Short History of Sri Lanka. Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 472. ISBN 978-0-520-04320-6.
- "Honouring the Father of Free Education". The Daily News.
- "Who was "Father" of free education in Sri Lanka?: C.W.W. Kannangara or A. Ratnayake?". Trans Currents. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
- "Education: Traditional and Colonial Systems". Library of Congress Country Studies.
- OECD, ed. (2017). Building skills for all in Australia: policy insights from the Survey of Adult Skills. OECD skills studies. Paris: OECD Publishing. ISBN 978-92-64-28111-0. OCLC 1043894665.
- "2021 AEDC National Report". www.aedc.gov.au. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
- Said, Aimee (17 March 2023). "Annual Australian public libraries statistics". National and State Libraries Australasia. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
- This article incorporates text from a free content work. Licensed under CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0 (license statement/permission). Text taken from Reading the past, writing the future: Fifty years of promoting literacy, 21–23, 26, UNESCO, UNESCO. UNESCO.
- This article incorporates text from a free content work. Licensed under CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0 (license statement/permission). Text taken from Mobile phones and literacy: Empowerment in Women's Hands; A Cross-Case Analysis of Nine Experiences, 22-23, UNESCO, UNESCO. UNESCO.
- This article incorporates text from a free content work. Licensed under CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0 (license statement/permission). Text taken from Digital Services for Education in Africa, 17, UNESCO, UNESCO. UNESCO.
- Mustafa, Ghulam (30 October 2022). "The Pakistani Education System – An Overview of the Current Situation". Waziranlost. Archived from the original on 5 November 2022.
- Roser, Max; Ortiz-Ospina, Esteban (2016). "Literacy". Our World in Data.
- UNESCO Literacy Portal
- UNESCO Effective Literacy and Numeracy Practices Database – LitBase Archived 22 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine
- Literacy at Curlie
- Center for the study of adult literacy at Georgia State University
- The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives
- Literacy Assessment Online at Edukey Education
- National Literacy Trust
- The National Strategies for Primary Literacy (archived 23 December 2012)