Article

Literacy

Jennifer Rennie and Evan Ortlieb

in Education

ISBN: 9780199756810
Published online July 2013 | | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0095
Literacy

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  • Education
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Improving literacy standards is high on the agendas of governments and educational authorities around the globe. The importance of literacy cannot be understated. It is fundamental for all learning, both in and outside of school. It has been linked to personal well-being and for the role it plays in social, economic, and cultural development, and it is used as a measure of success for individuals, schools, and nations. Literacy enhances employability, job satisfaction, level of remuneration, and community participation. The terms literate and illiterate originated from the Latin term literatus, which means a learned person, and being literate has long been associated with the ability to read and write. Despite this definition of literacy, how one might describe a literate person has changed over time. History tells us that literacy is a mutable concept—never stable or fixed. Organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) regularly report comparative literacy statistics for a range of nations worldwide. Given the importance placed on literacy globally, governments continue to pour huge amounts of funding into initiatives to improve student outcomes in literacy. In the quest to lift literacy outcomes, there have been heated theoretical and pedagogical debates in the educational arena. Furthermore, despite firm commitments to improve literacy outcomes for all students, there continues to be groups of students who fare less well than other students based on gender, socioeconomic status, and race.

Article.  10295 words. 

Subjects: Education ; Organization and Management of Education ; Philosophy and Theory of Education ; Schools Studies ; Teaching Skills and Techniques

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