People with low literacy skills may not be able to read a book or newspaper, understand road signs or price labels, make sense of a bus or train timetable, fill out a form, read instructions on medicines, or use the internet.
Lacking vital literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life. As a child, they will not be able to succeed at school, as a young adult, they will be locked out of the job market, and as a parent, they will not be able to support their own child’s learning. This intergenerational cycle makes social mobility and a fairer society more difficult.
Literacy is a fundamental right and the foundation for lifelong learning. It imparts knowledge, skills and the self-confidence to transform lives, leading to better health and income as well as fuller participation in the community. Literacy is a key skill and a key measure of a population’s education.