Literacy is so much more than reading and writing

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of literacy is the ability to read and write. However, while reading and writing are necessary, they are not sufficient to contribute to the progress of society as a whole. Instead, we must move beyond reading and writing and towards critical thinking.

changemakers generationBreeding a changemakers generation


Critical thinking skills are a direct result of access to quality education. Literate students use the knowledge they have gained through rich discussions in the classroom and apply it to new and differing contexts. Through these discussions, students analyze, synthesize and evaluate what they learn.

In turn, this empowers them to challenge the assumptions and implications of ideas and institutions, and to use this knowledge to take action on important issues. Consequently, this breeds a generation with the knowledge, skills, and commitment necessary to change the world.

Critical ThinkingCritical thinking is a priority


This next generation is the future employees, leaders, teachers, and advocates for social change. How can they succeed at either of these without access to quality education? The importance of literacy and education in fostering personal autonomy and critical thinking skills is particularly pertinent for marginalized groups.

Literacy proficiency authorizes individuals to contribute to and participate in the discourse that shapes their community and the world. Thus, breaking the cycle of illiteracy and improving self-esteem is crucial to pursue opportunities, make informed decisions and have a say in legislative processes; liberties we often take for granted.

So, as the world observes September 8th as International Literacy Day, we first need to acknowledge how much literacy encompasses. Not only is reading and writing the bedrock for personal success, but it is also key to fostering social responsibility, freedom, and empowerment. Therefore, in times of misinformation, prejudice, and widespread political propaganda, critical thinking is a fundamental skill for the future of the next generation of change-makers.

Written by: Charlee Standley

Youth Ambassador Coordinator