20 Types of Literacy to Harness Children’s Literacy Assessment in Schools

As we all know, in today’s societies, different types of literacy can be obtained. Usually, when literacy comes into our minds, we think of it as the ability to read and write.

However, literacy is a lot more than that, it is observed in every facet of human existence. The primary aim of this article is to raise awareness of the various forms of literacy.

The different types of literacy that we will discuss in this article include Emergent, Visual, Educational, Traditional, Social, Economic, Health, Digital etc.

What is Literacy

Educational Achievement is commonly understood as the ability to read, write and use numeracy. While these are essential elements of learning, today, we have far more comprehension of literacy. Kiddiesquare describes literacy as the ability to understand, create and convey meanings in all aspects of daily lives, confidence and willingness to connect with language – as a socially and culturally developed communication framework.

Types of Literacy in our Everyday Lives

1. Emergent Literacy


Emergent Literacy is a type of literacy that deals with the earliest behaviours of children in the form of the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that are manifested before the actual conventional level of literacy is attained.

A New Zealand researcher Marie Clay was the first to use the term in 1966 to describe the behaviours seen in young children when they use books and writing materials to imitate reading and writing activities. Even though the children cannot read and write in the conventional sense.

In a nutshell, emergent literacy is concerned with the beginning of literacy growth; it’s duration around birth and the time when children traditionally read and write.

2. Conventional Literacy

Conventional Literacy is a type of literacy which deals with the skills of reading and writing. It includes things such as understanding the alphabet, phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics that regulate conventionally reading and writing skills.

Some scholar explains the use of conventional literacy in terms of the actions conveyed by authors – Traditional readers and writers are reading and writing in ways which most people in our literate culture identify as ‘true’ reading and writing.

3. School Literacy


School is an institution where an individual learns and improves one’s literacy skills. School literacy is a type of literacy that is considered to be one of the foundations for the development of other forms of literacy skills.

Human learning occurs by enrolment in pre-schools. Education in pre-schools ends with playing. When the students are enrolled, they are young, and so it takes time to get an accurate understanding of all the aspects. The children are given playthings at the initial stage.

They can develop a foundation for learning when they make use of these playthings. The individuals are able to build their language skills in early childhood education and establish a foundation for learning academic concepts. Once the kids enter formal school, they will improve their academic skills.

In order to be successful in any task or activity, literacy skills are considered essential. When people possess necessary literacy skills, they can carry out various tasks and activities to meet their livelihoods.

In schools, people are not only able to strengthen their reading skills, but they are also able to gain awareness and understanding in other areas such as excellent communication skills, courtesy and etiquette, morals, ethics, norms and beliefs. School literacy is seen as a tool that makes things possible for individuals to achieve their personal and professional goals.

4. Basic Literacy

Basic literacy skills in form of reading, writing, and numeracy skills are crucial, particularly when an individual seeks to acquire knowledge and information for different areas. Especially in the case of gaining media literacy, such skills are seen as crucial.

5. Visual Literacy


Visual literacy is a type of literacy that deals with vision skills that humans develop by seeing, possessing and incorporating other sensory experiences. Such skills developed are essential for regular human learning. As children acquire these skills, they can distinguish and perceive observable behaviour, objects, and symbols that are natural and man-made.

The study of visual processes involved in visual perception has both inspired and strengthened the advocacy of visual literacy. Research has shown that seeing is simply the phase of passive stimuli reception, requiring actual meaning.

6. Media Literacy


Media literacy is a person’s ability to interpret, navigate, evaluate, and construct messages through different contexts. In a way, it is similar to information literacy which requires studying the ability of a person to comprehend information or read information from various media by filtering or scrolling through and analyzing messages that inform, educate and entertain us. Furthermore, media literacy is capable of bringing critical thinking skills to bear on all platforms; from music videos and online environments to product placement in films and interactive billboard displays.

Media literacy fosters a sampling approach to the media world: To whom is this message intended? Who wants to reach the public, and why? From whose viewpoint is the story being told? Whose voices are being heard and who is absent? What are the tactics used to get my attention and make me feel included in this message? Media education is not about getting the right answers to this world of multitasking, commercialism, globalization and interactivity – it’s about asking the right questions.

7. Technological Literacy


This literacy means that a person is capable of using technology tools to access, manage, incorporate, analyze, generate information and communicate with it. It also extends to the knowledge possessed to create or develop technology related products in a broad sense.

8. Cultural Literacy


Culture includes creeds, beliefs, behaviours, practices, norms, traditions, ideals, structures, social ties, and standards. Culture affects every society. Individuals are expected to carry out the tasks and functions following the cultural characteristics of their locality. Culture is seen as a sustainability foundation.

It serves as a framework that binds foundations of social, economic and environmental considerations. Individuals need to have a strong ability to deal with cultural differences, and this is known as cultural competence. Cultural competence involves the behaviours, attitudes and strategies required in cultural situations.

9. Health Literacy


Health literacy is the type of literacy that includes awareness and understanding of the health and well-being of an individual. People are able to develop expertise in accessing, interpreting, analyzing, and applying health information to assess and execute decisions in their everyday lives.

Health Literacy plays a significant role in terms of health care, disease prevention, health promotion, receiving medications, diet, and nutrition, exercise, physical activity, staying free from stress, and creating fun and healthy environmental conditions.

Individuals are to adhere to both their physical and psychological health conditions. To take care of one’s physical health issues, people must pay close attention to their diet, physical exercise, medical check-ups, positive thinking, and they are encouraged to receive medications while experiencing any health problems and illnesses.

10. Moral Literacy

Moral literacy is the type of literacy that has to do with moral knowledge. Getting acquainted with this ethical understanding is vital to all. Each person has a goal of living a meaningful life and of having active participation in promoting community well-being.

The people, in many ways, are distinctive. Many of which include Race, sex, color, religion, gender, ethnicity, age, and socio-economic background. Moreover, in terms of natures, personalities, opinions, perceptions, ideologies, and values, they vary from each other.

From the initial stage, individuals are provided with concepts regarding moral literacy. Principles are imparted on children from the early childhood stage in terms of ethical awareness by their parents at home and their teachers in schools.

11. Computer Literacy


Computer literacy is considered essential for every individual in this present time, that engaged in any occupation or task. In various areas such as education, management, administration, law, legal, health care, research, technology, engineering, and so on, responsibilities and job duties are done using computers. Computers usage comes to light the most when individuals are required to search for information, interact or prepare papers, posts, documents, letters or projects via the internet.

In the case of computer literacy, there are three main categories; the first level is the foundation of computer literacy skills; the second level is the intermediate level, which includes concepts above the foundation. The third level is competency, just above the intermediate level, which is applied in educational and work environments.

12. Emotional Literacy

Emotion is an integral part of a human being. These apply to thoughts, sentiments, impulses, desires, excitements and sensations. Emotions are of two types, positive and negative. Positive feelings continue to make people feel pleased and contended. In comparison, negative emotions make a person feel sad, frustrated and angry. Emotional literacy is the type of literacy that is necessary for individuals to gain personal power and authority to engage in various tasks and activities.

Emotional literacy skills include thinking about one’s emotions and causes; developing compassionate intuition ability and apologizing for the adverse effects induced by one’s emotional errors. Emotional literacy skills come from family members, as well as educational institutions.

13. Digital Literacy


Digital literacy is the ability to use technologies to find, utilize and disseminate knowledge. Depending upon the fields, it is examined from various viewpoints. Fundamentally, though, it focuses more on literacy than media, and involves finding, using, and disseminating the digital world content. Using digital media sources, one can carry out everyday activities in personal and professional life.

The absolute impact and ubiquity of digital media indicate that convergence and strategic evaluation of a variety of array of tools are also essential skills. Therefore, the ethical and lawful use of information and the safeguarding and protection of information about users and others is of the utmost importance.

The definition of digital literacy isn’t stationary. With the rise of modernization and globalization, information and communications technology (ICT) are changing. Once people are digitally literate, they must learn and apply the skills in emerging technology to discover, pass, interpret, evaluate and communicate information.

14. Legal Literacy


A type of literacy that explores law-related knowledge, skills, and expertise that a person can possess in the execution of legal matters. The disparity between an attorney and a client is the lack in information between them that the attorney has and the client does not.

15. Financial Literacy


Financial literacy is the ability to understand how money works: how someone creates, uses and invests it, and even spends it, donate to charity – helping others. In-depth awareness of financial literacy is necessary to understand how money works and how it can work for you – even while you’re sleeping – by investing in productive areas such as the stock market or money market.

It is essential to understand basic financial literacy concepts such as financial objectives, budgeting, savings, superannuation, contracts, and job models to understand money and how it works.

Studies on financial literacy across countries have shown that most people (including entrepreneurs) don’t grasp the idea of compound interest, and some customers don’t actively pursue financial knowledge before making financial decisions. Most financial customers cannot use and maintain a credit card effectively. Lack of financial literacy education is responsible for the lack of skills in money management and budgeting for business and retirement.

16. Business Literacy


A type of literacy that looks at information, skills and competencies geared towards the industry. Failure to sell goods a person has produced, manufactured or acquired is an example of business illiteracy. Business literacy refers to the capability of a person to learn business-oriented skills in meeting consumer expectations by adjusting to trade-oriented environments.

17. Political Literacy


A type of literacy referring to the expertise, skills and information associated with a location’s politics. It is a set of skills that people find necessary to participate in a given government. It is a skill in civic education that involves the various forces that form the country’s economy and political space with an understanding of how government functions and the critical issues facing society, as well as essential thinking skills for assessing different points of view. It is a well-known fact that political literacy concerns many organizations who are involved in participatory democracy.

18. Information Literacy


A type of literacy that looks at the ability to identify the degree and essence of the information required to find, assess, and use the information necessary accurately. It constitutes the ability to detect when information is needed and to find, analyze, use information effectively and communicate in it in different formats. An individual is said to be knowledgeable in data if they can identify when the information is needed and can find, analyze and use the required information effectively.

Having such citizen would require schools and colleges to recognize and incorporate the idea of information literacy into their learning programmes, and to play a leading role in equipping individuals and organizations to take advantage of the opportunities inherent in the information society. Having when and when you need knowledge, where to find it and how to analyze, use it and communicate ethically implies having many skills. We believe that the skills (or competencies) needed for information literacy include an understanding of the need for knowledge, the available resources and how to find information.

19. Professional Literacy

What does ‘professional literacy’ mean? It means you have an understanding and willingness to practice the skills you learn during your degree and from other experiences in life. Those skills will support you in your future career and university is the ideal place to start studying and putting those skills into action. Whatever kind of work, career or life position you want to undertake, the development of your professional literacy will allow you to interact with others and share your experience in a way that makes a meaningful contribution to society.

20. Statistical Literacy

Statistics are types of literacy that explores the capacity to comprehend statistics displayed in different types of publications such as newspapers, television, and the Internet. Numeracy is a requirement for statistically literate research. Also, being statistically educated requires having the chance to objectively analyze statistical content as well as appreciating the importance of statistically dependent methods to all areas of life in general.


Individuals inside and outside the home gain literacy skills. In summary, literacy provides individuals with the knowledge to build their computer skills, digital skills are used to identify and disseminate information using technologies. Literacy skills in form of Visual refers to the vision competencies that individuals acquire by seeing, experiencing and incorporating specific sensory experiences. School literacy provides individuals with information about academic concepts as well as standards, beliefs and principles.

Finally, gaining knowledge and information in terms of the various types of literacy would not only allow individuals to carry out their tasks and activities in an acceptable manner. It can also transform individuals into rational and ethical human beings and better sustain their living conditions.


Blikstad-Balas, M. (2013). Redefining School Literacy. Prominent Literacy Practices Across Subjects in Upper Secondary School. University of Oslo. Retrieved May 01, 2019 from


Computer Literacy Skills. (n.d.). Retrieved May 01, 2019 from


Felten, P. (2008). Visual Literacy. Retrieved May 02, 2019 from


Kickbusch, I., Pelikan, J.M., Apfel, F., & Tsouros, A.D. (Ed.). (2013). Health Literacy. The

Solid Facts. World Health Organization. Retrieved May 03, 2019 from


Steiner, C. (2003). Emotional Literacy: Intelligence with a Heart. Retrieved May 03, 2019 from http://emotional-literacy-training.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Steiner-Emotional-Literacy.pdf

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *