Literacy In a Digital World

This year’s theme for International Literacy Day is ‘Literacy in a digital world’. Although it sounds like the title of an essay I might have written at university, it is a topic I find really interesting.

…at least 750 million adults and 264 million out-of-school children still lack basic literacy skills.

How can literacy be promoted in a changing, increasingly digital world? I see two sides of the coin all the time – on TV talk shows, especially in my job – where there are those who refuse to accept technology and those who embrace it. And I myself can see both arguments too. I know dyslexics who benefit enormously from digital support, but I do wonder about the deterioration of my own literacy skills when I find myself relying on autocorrect for the most basic of sentences.

What I do know is that my sister refuses to pick up books in any form, and has relied heavily on the digital world to increase her literacy skills. I’m a real believer that any reading (e.g. e-magazines, blogs) is useful for literacy development, so I’ve always encouraged her digital pursuits. Interestingly, her vocabulary is excellent, and she is often more articulate than myself, who has always devoured books.

Personally, I live and breathe the digital world. Not because it is often a necessity of being a 20-something in this era, but because I feel there is so much to gain from it. I don’t spend all that much time Facebook scrolling, but I do read blogs (Almost Amazing Grace and BluChickenNinja are two of my current favourites) and find it the most convenient way of staying in touch with current events. I’ve also found that running my own blog has developed my writing skills as well as forcing me to learn basic coding and even business skills.

It might be the millennial in me talking, but I think there is much the digital world can do to support literacy, if we are sensible and continue to develop our other skills too. On the whole, I think it offers more opportunity than it takes away, but whether this argument translates to other cultures, I’m not so sure.

I wish everyone a happy International Literacy Day, whether you spend it in the digital world or the real one.

You can find out more about International Literacy Day here.

What are your thoughts?  Can the digital world support literacy?


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