This week to celebrate literacy we have many exciting activities planned for the students at our school and the iCentre is excited to be a part of this. The key focus of Literacy Week is to appreciate the importance of literacy for successful participation in society, to appreciate the opportunities we have available to access information, reading and books and to understand that not all people in the world have the same access to learning and literature.
The importance of literacy for successful participation in society
A common understanding of traditional literacy is the ability to read, write, listen and speak with enough competence to participate in society. This definition remains true but needs to be broadened for the 21st century in which digital literacy, media literacy and information literacy are also prerequisites for successful living in the real world beyond school. It is very important to understand that these new literacies will make a difference to the future opportunities of youth in developed countries like Australia. Global interconnectedness means routine, cognitive work that required traditional literacy skills can now be provided by workers from overseas where labour is cheaper. Some examples of people who are seeing their jobs outsourced include call-centre workers, computer programmers and data-entry personnel. (Crockett, Jukes & Churchs, 2011)
Making the most of opportunities to build literacy
Students at our school have many opportunities to build their literacy and capacities for the future. Making the most of their classroom education is just the start. They also have access to a beautiful, well resourced and well staffed iCentre where they can borrow a paper book or eBook, access quality information for assignments, receive expert assistance with learning and extend themselves by being involved in programs such as Digital Leaders or Reader’s Cup. Furthermore, following the iCentre and networking with learners through channels such as Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and Pinterest are opportunities to engage and learn with both traditional and new literacies.
Understand that not all people in the world have the same access to learning and literature
There exists and equity divide in Australia and other nations throughout the world where not all people get equal opportunities to be literate. There exists a significant gap in literacy rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in this country. Some interesting facts about this can be viewed on the Indigenous Literacy Foundation’s website. It is particularly distressing that by the age of 15, more than one-third of Australia’s Indigenous students ‘do not have the adequate skills and knowledge in reading literacy to meet real-life challenges and may well be disadvantaged in their lives beyond school’. Another disturbing fact is that by Year 7, only 15% of indigenous children living in isolated areas can read at the accepted minimum standard. A lot of work needs to be done to address this gap but it is something we cannot ignore and both advocacy and funds are needed to improve this situation so that we can look towards a future that celebrates equal opportunities. (Indigenous Literacy Foundation, 2014)
State College, Pennsylvania, United States Of America.. [Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest.