“Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.” - UNESCO 21

Life literacy signals the importance of lifelong and life-wide literacy and learning. It’s the literacy skills you need to live your life and the new skills you need to acquire throughout your life. Workplace, family and community are important areas in your life where developing your reading, writing and math skills can result in a more productive and more successful life experience.

Adequate literacy skills are defined as “the ability to understand, evaluate, use, and engage with written texts to participate in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential” by the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies.

Literacy is measured along a continuum of competency in three broad domains:

  • prose literacy (the ability to understand and use information from texts),

  • document literacy (the ability to find and use information in different document formats;) and

  • quantitative literacy (the ability to apply arithmetic operations to numbers in printed material).

Research shows that adults who have inadequate literacy skills are more likely to have worse health outcomes, decreased earnings potential, lower levels of civic participation and fewer life opportunities.

Information retrieved from Decoda Literacy and ABC Life Literacy Canada.