The Literacy Myth





The Literacy Myth


Literacy can be defined as the primary or basic levels of reading and writing in tandem with their analogs across different dimensions of life when dealing with the acquisition of knowledge. Different attitudes of myths are responsible for the presumed nature of the process in various binaries and life issues. Literacy has been identified as a myth regarding the leading gains pertaining wealth, democracy, social status and intelligence. Both opposing and proposing sides identify the gains accrued to literacy and demystifying the nature of the process akin to gaining development throughout human civilization. Literacy is termed as the fundamental step towards development while the lack of it is responsible for strife among humans. I agree that literacy is not a myth and that it is vital for continuity in humankind but disagree with its sole-identification as the only component of progress.       


According to the literacy myth, one of the major elements of popular discourse is the representation of progress, and the metaphorical display of pathway to achievements and success. In the contemporary world, illiteracy has been identified as a marker of darkness, incompetence, and ignorance (Graff 37). I agree to the extent that the world has been particular in identifying literacy as a pathway to development for every human. However, the paths are defined by societal terms and specifications. It is the societal requirements with the guidelines on various measures that make literacy important. The paths to success then depict successful literacy, while failure in the same is met with equivalent negative achievements in the process.

            The narrative of decline has been extended beyond literacy as it affects encompassment of education in both higher and lower states, with the societal factors like morality, economic productivity, and wellbeing of the people. The scores attained are determined by the assessment enabled by a universal state of the ideals and importance by society. According to Booth (19), within the measures of expectation towards literacy, society is judged on the level of economic production, continuity, and morality of the people as being either positive or negative. The quantifiable extent cannot be determined, and that is why I do not embrace the aspect of literacy in its approach to determining progress or development.

             One of the main issues affecting literacy is the historical development. Over the years and human civilization, the literacy levels of today were not there before. The primitive nature of man was evident in the manner of lifestyles, machinery, and culture depiction (Sussman 22). At the time, there was no element of literacy. It is in such instances that I support the fact that literacy is all but a myth without the necessary gauging and empirical evidence to determine progress. The people at the time lived to completion with development in their own right without assessment and created expectations according to literacy. The ideologies and expressions of the myth created the need to see literacy as a representation of progress.              


Literacy is important in human lives but is should not form the basis for determination of astute advancement. The society creates its own measure of assessment in order to influence literacy as a relevant basing. It is typical with the modern day standard-setters of developed nations and civilizations. However, the nature of the lesser-developed nations or societies should be implored to understand why literacy is only a myth. Humans will still live and prosper in their own right with or without literacy.

Works Cited:

Booth, David W. Reading Doesn’t Matter Anymore: Shattering the Myths of Literacy. Markham, Ont: Pembroke Publishers, 2006. Print.

Graff, Harvey J. Literacy Myths, Legacies, & Lessons: New Studies on Literacy. New Brunswick, N.J: Transaction Publishers, 2011. Print.

Sussman, Henry. Around the Book: Systems and Literacy. New York: Fordham University Press, 2011. Print.

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