What is literacy?

Literacy refers to the ability to read, write, view and speak in a manner that allows for effective communication and understanding of the world.


There are five components required for effective and evidence-based reading instruction, including:
1. Phonemic awareness (sound awareness)
2. Phonics (letter-sound knowledge)
3. Reading fluency
4. Vocabulary
5. Language comprehension


Research shows that a systematic, synthetic phonics approach is the most effective way to teach children how to decode words. Essentially children are taught a sequence of small groups of letters at a time. They learn to link letters to speech sounds and then blend these sounds together to read words.

Literacy competence is foundational, not only for school-based learning, but also for children’s behavioural and psychosocial wellbeing, education, occupational success


Why is literacy important?

Literacy skills play a significant role in a child’s ability to understand, analyse and evaluate information, make meaning, express thoughts and emotions, present ideas and opinions, interact with others and participate in activities. Being literate also helps children to understand written, visual and spoken texts such as books, newspapers, magazines, timetables, DVDs, television and radio programs, signs, maps, conversations and instructions.


How do children learn to read and write?

Essential skills that children need to be able to learn to read and write, include:
- understanding that words are made up of sounds
- understanding that letters represent sounds
- blending sounds together to make a word
- remembering a string of words, and their meaning in a sentence


Why is it important to intervene early?

At school, children with reading difficulties may also have problems with:
-Academic performance
-Peer relationships 

-Self esteem 

When literacy difficulties persist, there is often a significant impact on the person’s life. Not being able to read and write at adequate levels means that the young person is at risk of having limited opportunities in life or being unemployed.