Types of Literacy

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right…. Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”(Kofi Annan)

Definition and Kinds of Literacy

Literacy is an extremely important aspect of modern life. Throughout the whole human history, a lot of things have depended upon it: from economic development of the country to the status of a single person in the society.

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Nowadays, there are many definitions of the concept “literacy”. The simplest one is “the ability toreadand write one’s own name and further for knowledge and interest,writecoherently, andthink critically about the written word”. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines literacy as the “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.”

Furthermore, there are several kinds of literacy singled out:

  • Functional Literacy. It is necessary for peaceful co-existence within the society. This is the ability of person to read and write in a native language. The measures of functional literacy are defined according to the standards of a country.
  • Cultural Literacy. It expresses the capacity of a person to realize and respect a distinction in values, beliefs, traditions and customs of one’s own culture as well as the cultures of the others. A person is required to be familiar with general knowledge about the country, community, religion, or nation.
  • Multicultural Literacy. It is defined as the person’s knowledge of languages and culture. It also shows such multi-sensory data as text, sound and graphics to introduce a point of view, outlook and prejudice towards the language, topic, and visual content.
  • Information Literacy. It is the capacity to identify, locate, perceive, assess and efficiently employ the information according to the situation.
  • Media Literacy. It is the way to inform and critically comprehend the mass media.
  • Biliteracy. It is the ability to read in two or more languages.
  • Visual Literacy. It is grounded on the concept that visual images are accepted as a language. It can also be stated as the ability to percept and create visual messages. Visual literacy is grounded on the thought thatimagescan be “read”, and that significance can be informed via the process of reading.
  • Computer Literacy. It is the knowledge about the computer usage and software employment with the purpose of fulfilling practical tasks.
  • Mathematical Literacy, or Numeracy. It is a skill to use the ultimate symbols and the process of arithmetic.
  • Scientific Literacy. It is the knowledge about concepts, processes that a person needs to make decisions, take part in social and public affairs, and economic efficiency.
  • New Media Literacy. This is the literacy that concerns digital innovations and Internet, which contains new instruments of electronic forms, multimedia and hypertext in the process of simultaneous and nonsynchronous communication.
  • Digital Literacy. This is the capacity to employ new technologies, networks or digital communication means with the purpose of locating, assessing, utilizing and producing information.
  • Technological Literacy. It is the knowledge on media usage, i.e. the Internet, to receive information and communicate.
  • Global Literacy. It is the way to interpret the interrelation among people and nations, and ability to cooperate and interact successfully within all cultures around the world.

Technological Literacy

Technological literacy is the ability of an individual, who works independently or with others, to responsibly, appropriately and effectively use technological tools in order to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create and communicate information.

A person can be called technologically literate when he\she realizes with the ascending refinement what technology means, the ways of its creation, its formation and occurrence within society, and the transformation into a technologically literate community. The information about technology can be perceived on television, radio, newspapers, etc.; meanwhile, it is assessed sagaciously. It is not taken out of context. A person can express some point of view based on that information. A person can be called technologically literate when he\she is convenient and impartial with the usage of technologies. A person is not afraid of applying the knowledge on practice. Technological literacy is important for better understanding why technology and its usage play inevitable role in the economy. It is impossible to benefit without being familiar with new technologies. A person on any level of the society ladder will do the job productively and gain more with the help of technological literacy.


The world is full of technologies. It is not fair to state that it is the achievement of only recent years or centuries. Taking into consideration the human history over the whole period of its existence, new technologies have been appearing. For example, the implementation of labor instruments transformed a primitive man into Homo sapiens. Aqueducts facilitated the lives of ancient people. The development of printing machines spread books around the world.

This list can be continued; it is endless. Invention of any technology made life easier and more comfortable. It has brought new possibilities and horizons for human development. Though, there is always a negative aspect. A lot of technologies were not accepted during the first years of their existence. People usually refused and resisted some innovations. They needed time to get used to them. This is still a problem for the modern society, though it is not so sharp as compared to the previous centuries.

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As for me, I cannot imagine my life without everything that surrounds me. To begin with, there are accommodation facilities that save a lot of precious time. Various gadgets amuse as well as help to organize the working day, assist in business preparation, support in studying. To be familiar with their usage, any person needs at least basic technology literacy.

If a person wants to keep up with the future, the only effort that can be made is studying for not being stuck in the previous age of the human development. This can be the so called evolution of the XXI century. It is a challenge for a person to improve and get better.


To sum up, literacy is an inevitable process which goes together with evolution and technical progress. Every person in spite of the educational level should posses some knowledge and be iterated. In this work, different types of literacy are reviewed. A person cannot choose only one of it and be successful. A person of the XXI century possesses knowledge about all of them.

As for the technology literacy, people have different abilities and skills. For one of them, technology means cell phone, computers, and using Internet. Though, for the others, it means the usage of different equipment and techniques in their sphere of occupation.

Finally, the implementation of the knowledge in any kind of literacy is inevitable for the modern life.

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