The Importance Of Literacy Essay Research Paper

The Importance Of Literacy Essay, Research Paper The Importance of Literacy Try and imagine our society without a common language. This could be quite a hard idea to fathom. Allow me to assist you. If this hypothetical idea were

The Importance Of Literacy Essay, Research Paper

The Importance of Literacy

Try and imagine our society without a common language. This could be quite

a hard idea to fathom. Allow me to assist you. If this hypothetical idea were

in fact true, a typical conversation between two individuals would be as

follows: one of the two would begin the conversation by making noises

representing their language, the other person would not understand these noises

and respond with unrecognizable noises to the first individual. As you can well

imagine, this would get quite frustrating. Rita Mae Brown describes literacy as,

“a social contract, an agreed upon representation of certain symbols” (420). If

the symbol’s (letters) meanings are not agreed upon by those attempting to

communicate, then interpreting one another becomes difficult. Simply stated,

literacy is very important. Society has proven time and time again, it will

reward those individuals who are competent and impede those who are not, whether

expressed in terms of employment opportunities (job success) or just on a social


One need look no further than their everyday activities in order to

realize how important literary skills are. Without adequate literary skills one

may not be able to identify on a label the correct amount of medicine to give a

child, or read and interpret a sign giving instructions on what to do in case of

a fire. These two examples bring perspective to literacy’s importance.

Nevertheless, recent surveys have indicated that, “4.5 million Canadians,

representing 24 percent of the eighteen-and-over group, can be considered

illiterate” (”Adult Illiteracy” 5). Illiteracy is truly a problem within Canada.

Although many groups are working to render the problem of illiteracy, much work

still lies ahead.

As our society moves on into the next century literacy is proving vital

to economic performance. Without basic literary skills in one’s possession they

will become lost in our rapidly changing society. The modern worker must be

able to adapt to the changing job-scene. This often means gathering new skills

and knowledge from printed material, whether instruction manuals, computer

programs, or classroom training (text books). It is quite commonly the case

that highly skilled jobs require a high level of literacy. Therefore, literary

skill level is an important factor in predicting an individual’s economic

success. It will affect an individual’s income, their employment stability and

whether they even receive employment opportunities.

Presently, our world revolves around literacy. Simply being literate

allows one to continuously upgrade one’s literary skills to a higher level. It

allows one to stay informed of happenings in and around the world through

mediums such as newspapers and magazines. Knowing current news about what is

going on in this ever changing world of ours is the key to staying ahead.

Another thought to ponder is this, we rely on those with high literacy levels to

record and document findings and happenings for future generations to reflect on.

These writings would most likely be dull and inaccurate or would not exist at

all without our current levels of literacy.

When viewed from a social standpoint, literacy remains just as important

as when viewed from the economic standpoint. Linda Macleod of the National

Associations Active in Criminal Justice, points out that, “65 percent of people

entering Canadian prisons for the first time have trouble reading and writing,

low literacy is part of a constellation of problems that can limit choices in

life and thus lead people to criminal activity” (20). Somebody in possession of

a high level of literacy will most likely be well informed and tend to make

wiser decisions. By obtaining this level of literacy they have also gathered a

large vocabulary giving them many words to choose from to express their ideas

and feelings. Conversely, many would agree that a conversation with one who has

a good grasp of the English language is always more delightful than with one who

is less educated.

Literacy can act as a window, opening one’s view to the world.

Presently, we are being bombarded with information, news, trivia and gossip (not

that this is always a positive feature in our lives). Without sufficient

literary skills one cannot even absorb any of this information. These people

will miss out on many of life’s benefits, socially as well as economically.

Without sufficient literary skills one would have a tremendously difficult time

functioning in our current world. Think about your average day, consider how

many times you refer to your literary skills to aid you, could you function

without those skills? Finding an address, reading a map, reading a menu,

performing a bank transaction, these are just a few common tasks that require

your literary skills.

Also, when looking at the importance of literacy to our nation, its

value is evident. High levels of literacy throughout all sectors of Canada’s

workforce are necessary, “low literacy levels of workers’ affect Canada’s

ability to perform in the increasingly competitive international marketplace”

(”Literacy” 7). Literary skills become building blocks. First creating a well-

educated society, then a highly skilled labour force which can compete and adapt

to the changing market. These factors lead to an increase in economic growth

within the nation which in turn, results in a higher standard of living for its


As our society moves forward into the future, a higher level of literacy

will become more important to one’s level of success. Where would our society

be without our ability to exchange knowledge and information? How many times

have you made a purchase that read on the outside – instructions inside? You

and I think nothing of this, and in a sense take our gift for granted. For many,

deciphering written instructions is a near impossible task, asking for

assistance does little more than to further lower their self esteem. Literacy

is important. To truly seize the benefits possible in one’s life it has to be

accepted that literacy is the key. Society will continue to reward skilled

individuals and disadvantage those who are not.