What is Literacy?
The power of literacy lies not only in the ability to read and write, but rather in an individual’s capacity to put those skills to work in shaping the course of his or her own life. With the insight that genuine literacy involves “reading the word and the world,” renowned educator Paulo Freire helped open the door to a broader understanding of the term, one that moves from a strict decoding and reproducing of language into issues of economics, health, and sustainable development. Freire’s view of literacy is at once practical and all-encompassing. Whether it is the words of a language, the symbols in a mathematical system, or images posted to the Internet—literacy can transform lives.