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While traditionally understood as the ability to read and write, literacy has been expanded to include the ability to use language, numbers, images and other means to understand and use the dominant symbol systems of a culture.

There are now 8 common types of literacies:

  • Critical literacy - the ability to analyze texts and offers strategies for what proponents describe as uncovering underlying messages.

  • Cultural literacy - the ability to talk to and understand others of a culture with fluency

  • Digital literacy - to have the knowledge, skills, and behaviors used in a broad range of digital devices

  • Financial literacy  - the ability to understand how money works in the world

  • Health literacy - the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information needed to make appropriate health decisions

  • Information literacy - to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information

  • Media literacy - the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media

  • Scientific literacy - the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity

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