Why Are Literacy Skills Important?

by Leyla Norman Google

    Your child’s future depends heavily on whether he can read and write. Almost every aspect of life is permeated by the written word. Literacy is defined as the ability to read and write, and it is one of the most important gifts you can give your child. When you read to him, listen to him read to you, take him to the library, or purchase him books or magazines about topics in which he is interested, you are encouraging him to take an important step in learning skills that are necessary to have as an adult.


    When a child is exposed to reading in preschool, she is more likely to do well in school in all areas of learning. Reading gives your child new words that make it easier to understand what others are saying. It opens subjects that she did not know existed and helps her imagination and creativity flourish. Without the ability to read, your child’s ability to gain access to higher education or read to learn is greatly diminished.

    Daily Life

    Understanding a doctor’s orders, reading a voting ballot, understanding road signs and knowing what food products she is buying at the grocery store are vital. If your child cannot read as an adult, she is severely limited in what she can do on her own. News, community events and more will be inaccessible to a person who cannot read, and it can cause isolation because the person will not know much about what is going on around her. Additionally, learning how to read increases the ability to concentrate and develops the ability to solve problems logically.


    When it comes time for your child to work, being able to read and write is vital. When he fills out a job application, he has to know what kind of information to fill in and how to do it. Reading job advertisements to know where to apply and how is also impossible without knowing how to read or asking for help from someone who can. Emails to co-workers, reading company memos and safety regulations, working on a team, and learning new skills through training manuals all require being able to read and write.


    A person who can express himself clearly and concisely in speaking and writing can be easily understood by others. Knowing various types of sentence structures and having an extensive vocabulary are just two of the skills needed in being able to share thoughts with others in a way they can comprehend. Likewise, thoughts are shared by people in writing in books, pamphlets, emails and online. Knowing how to read opens a person’s mind to many more ideas and perspectives.

    Poverty and Crime

    According to the Buncombe County Literacy Council of Asheville, North Carolina website, approximately 30 million Americans over the age of 16 don’t read any better than the average elementary school student. There is also a strong correlation between crime and poverty and literacy. To gain access to higher education and jobs, it makes sense to learn to read and write well. When people know that other options are available to them through reading and writing, they are likely to want to take advantage of them.

    About the Author

    Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.

    Photo Credits

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