To define the term ‘literacy’ can be difficult, but to put it simply, it is the ability to read and write.
However, there is more than reading words on a page correctly and putting a string of letters together to make words when writing. Developing literacy skills and knowledge of language takes time because of the many demands a ‘reader’ and ‘writer’ have to negotiate to make meaning from what is being read and for meaning to be made from what they are producing (writing or conversation)
However, if we think about the definition more broadly in today’s society it also includes the ability to speak and listen, interact, interpret, question and think. So to redefine the term ‘literacy’ is having the skills and knowledge to interpret and make meaning from what is being read, it is having the capability to understand and the ability to communicate effectively.
To be literate then, is having the capacity to speak and engage in conversations, to listen in order to participate in conversations and follow instructions, to read having the strategies and skills to make meaning and understand a text and the confidence and willingness to write by having an understanding of how words and language work.
Children’s optimal learning occurs from birth to 5 years. It is during this time that they develop cognitively, emotionally, socially and physically, while achieving milestones. Children’s brains develop as they have new experiences and continue to develop at rapid rates during the early years.