The Internet and International Literacy

Library cat image

To celebrate UNESCO International Literacy Day, we have a serious topic-  human literacy and the internet.

It was prompted by the astonishment of a friend when her local TV advertised for literacy tutors. She believed that this type of training was a thing of the past. For many humans and anipals this is not yet true.

Mum is a volunteer tutor for Literacy Aotearoa in New Zealand. She became involved because we, as a family, could not imagine not being able to read; can you? Mum has studied and achieved her NCALE (National Certificate in Adult Literacy Education) to teach individuals and groups.

Dictionary Day

International Literacy Matters

What has literacy to do with pet blog readers and social media? Well, we all make typos, auto-correct takes words out of our paws, or we spell words incorrectly. Being literate means we can not only read our own words, but we can correct most of our mistakes. Not being literate means a pal struggles with simple, everyday things :-

  • Instructions on a packet mix
  • Instructions and warnings on medicine bottles from your vet
  • Reading to the family, or grandkittens
  • Operating a cash machine to get cat food shopping money
  • Reading school reports or vet hospital letters

International Literacy – Did You Know?

There are lots of type and definitions of literacy but, briefly, the main types are:-

  1. Functional literacy – the ability to get along on a day-to-day basis (reading your cat food packet)
  2. Mathematical literacy (numeracy) – the ability to understand and process numbers (adding up cat food costs)
  3. Technological literacy the ability to use computers, cash machines, mobile telephones to contact a vet, or hospital
  4. Critical literacy – not only to read but to understand, and question, what you read.

People lack literacy for lots of reasons so don’t be too hasty in dismissing it as ‘laziness’; school scared someone for various reasons, so they played truant; a family moved around a lot to find work; a human struggles with dyslexia or illness kept them away from school and they did not have enough teacher one-on-one  time to catch up, a whole heap of things can happen.

So what do we as pals – do to help? Firstly, it is up to any individual anipal to realise they need help and seek it outwe cannot and must not force a pal to ask for help – it would make them feel small or worthless. Most places have literacy programmes so if a pal needs help advise them to check locally to their home, trained help is important, so is gentle encouragement from you.

International Literacy
Reading brings enjoyment, adventure and knowledge!

As social media pals we have to be patient, kind and tolerant of a friend’s inability to process words and numbers as fast as we do.  Here’s a few examples :-

  • Dyslexia sufferers may take time to respond to a tweet, or a Facebook post, and may make a couple of mistakes when they respond.
  • Pals may have been bullied or mocked online for poor spelling, so be tentative about responding online.
  • People who struggle with reading might be completely lost if you use LOLSpeak or cat talk, if you use ‘jargon’ or shorten words too much. Be aware of your pals possible limits – English may not be their first language.

So, now you know. The world is full of people who struggle with things we take for granted – words and numbers. The next time you find a pal taking time to respond, remember they may be tired, overwhelmed or just struggling with words. Life is not as easy as we think – sometimes reading and writing isn’t either!

Silver Kitten
Tech Editor

Dash Kitten Silver Kitten the Business Cat

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19 thoughts on “The Internet and International Literacy

  1. Sweet Purrfections

    Having worked in education the past 38 years, Mom Paula knows the importance of literacy.


  2. Robin

    It is really awesome that you kitties are helping out with literacy! I’ve done some literacy clinics for children with disabilities. It is very rewarding! As a person with dyslexia, I can tell you that reading is a struggle. In my case, I have trouble keeping the lines of text separated when I read. I’m a horrible speller too. It takes me forever to read books! You can overcome your disabilities if you are willing to do whatever it takes to get around the problem. I am so thankful for spell checks!


  3. Tonya Wilhelm

    What a great post. I love this “patient, kind and tolerant” for everything. If we were more patient, kind and tolerant the world would be a much better place.


  4. Montecristo

    I sometimes help kids read by letting them read to me … it scares them less than humans.


  5. Jana Rade

    In this day and age, life without being able to read or write is definitely difficult.


  6. Talent Hounds

    An important message not to judge and to be kind and tolerant and helpful. My younger daughter struggled with a learning disability and anxiety which made reading, processing, and spelling difficult. Other girls at her school could be rather cruel in the early days, often without meaning to be. Fortunately, she got lots of support and developed strategies to cope- technology helped. She has just graduated from University and enjoys reading and writing now.


  7. Kamira G.

    This is such an important issue. You’d be surprised how many people get through day to day but are not fully literate but functionally illiterate. Kudos to your mom for helping others. This type of work changes lives.


  8. The Daily Pip

    A very important post. Our human daughter struggled a bit with reading. Fortunately, we caught it early and she received the extra help she needed. Now she is not only reading, but writing her own stories!


  9. Beth

    Literacy is so important! I think it is great that your mom helps other with their reading.


  10. Cathy Armato

    This is so true, excellent post! One of the things Icy and I do as a therapy dog team is Children Reading Out Loud to Dogs. Reading aloud helps kids improve reading skills dramatically. It provides a safe, non-judgmental forum for kids to practice reading. I was also astonished that we still have literacy problems in the U.S. as well. there are direct links to illiteracy and juvenile delinquency, as well as adult crime. Think about it, if you can’t read you can’t get a job. If you can’t get a job you can’t support yourself, and that could lead to theft of the things you need to survive. I love your example of reading a simple set of instructions on a package of food, everyone needs to be able to do that!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them.


  11. Tenacious Little Terrier

    I’ve volunteered with kids learning how to read and it’s amazing watching their progress and listening to them sound out words they couldn’t before.


  12. Lola The Rescued Cat

    Wow, this is a great post. Literacy is SO important, and so is patience with people who need some assistance. As always, you guys are pawesome.


  13. Kitty Cat Chronicles

    This is a great reminder. So often we are all quick to judge or “make fun of” a poorly written post or comment, when really we should take a moment to consider what could really be going on – that perhaps the person isn’t fully literate. Thanks to Mom Marjorie for tutoring those who are seeking help – that is so awesome!


  14. Nichole

    Great post. We agree Silver!


  15. meowmeowmans

    You are so right, Silver. Literacy is the key to pretty much everything.
    meowmeowmans recently posted…Silly and Easy Like Sunday – MollyMy Profile


  16. Nerissa's Life

    If you can read, you can learn almost anythin’!

    Literacy for all is oh-so-important. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn to read if they want to do so. EVERYONE.

    Nerissa’s Life recently posted…not another oneMy Profile


  17. Summer

    LIteracy is SO important – that is obvious every time anyone looks at the comments on Facebook! There seems to be a big lack in critical literacy there, along with the bad grammar, etc.
    Summer recently posted…Sunday Catinee: Cats Vs. Dogs… We Win!My Profile


  18. The Swiss Cats

    Mum is primary school teacher and is aware of those difficulties ; the more you stay with it as a child and then as an adult, the more it’s difficult to manage your adult life. She’s very admirative of adult people asking for help and learning again the ABC of reading and writing they missed in their childhood and teens for different reasons. She asks us to give your mom four paws up for her work of teaching adults in need and helping them ! Purrs
    The Swiss Cats recently posted…Y’a plus de saisons !My Profile


  19. Brian

    Great post! My Dad has dyslexia and he does pretty good but that is why twitter pawties and chats pose a problem.
    Brian recently posted…Easy Like Silky Sascha Sunday with a Precious SelfieMy Profile


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