What Is Literacy?


  • The Conference Board of Canada defines literacy as “an ability to use printed and written information well enough to function in society, achieve personal goals and cultivate knowledge and potential” (2006).
  • Literacy today means more than the ability to read and write.
  • It includes health literacy, financial literacy and the ability to understand and interpret media.

Borrowing on the Literacy Now planning guide, Literacy Matters … Abbotsford defines literacy in its Terms of Reference (Abbotsford Literacy Asset Inventory Research Report, 2007) as “an essential cultural, social and academic practice that involves not only reading, writing and numeracy, but also a variety of abilities including viewing and representing, aural literacy including language, musical and listening skills, cultural literacy including media and social literacy, and critical literacy including civic skills.” (2010 Legacies Now, Literacy Now).