Formerly, literacy was understood in a much more limited manner, mostly described as “the ability to read and write by decoding letters”.
Traditional methods considered that children did not have any knowledge, and that this was “imprinted” through the activity of the teacher, who tried to have the children learn the system of writing through exercises of mechanical dexterity. The figurative aspect of the system was also considered, so learning was seen as a process of acquirement realized at perceptive-motor level.
After extensive research (that we will describe below) the concept of literacy is now understood in a more ample way.
It has been claimed that learning the written language, apart from being a perceptive-motor process, also involves conceptual and linguistic aspects.
Based on these contributions, we can redefine literacy as a process through which the subject not only learns to read and write, but does it in a reflexive way.
Therefore, as he reaches the written culture (which includes both fields of reading and writing), the student is able to communicate automatically and interact with his environment; otherwise, he will find himself excluded from it.
Acquiring a level of literacy means respecting the basic right of non-discrimination, which is an innate right that all humans have, and that should be promoted and protected from all cultural perspectives.
Consequently, we can say that literacy is an universal right, a right for everyone, “…without making distinctions or discrimination based on race, color, gender, language, religion, nationality, social background, financial status, place of birth, political views or other criteria.”
Literacy is a prerequisite for human and social progress, which is acquired through the liberalization of knowledge.