Apparently these days it's been stretched to encompass practically everything except the kitchen sink. Here is the latest definition from Scotland:
"The ability to read and write and use numeracy, to handle information, to express ideas and opinions, to make decisions and solve problems, as family members, workers, citizens and lifelong learners."So when I was asked to provide literacy notes for an educational resource I'm writing for children, I thought, Yikes, what the hell does that mean? Is it just grammar? Is it all about how to write? What exactly am I supposed to put?
If I'd read the Scottish definition of literacy before I started, I might have had an overwhelming desire to put my head under a pillow and sing la la la until it all went away. As it was I decided it might be an idea to engage my brain (hello? where did I put it?). I've read a few writing books, as in how to write, and know all about the modern day trend of 'show' vs 'tell' (a big no no) so plunged in, a tad blindly it has to be said, and started with grammar.
Yes, although grammar doesn't exist any more. It's part of literacy. You can't mention the word because I suppose it sounds elitist and hard, a bit like Latin. But I started with it anyway without saying what I was doing. Sneaky, huh?
Other more qualified people than me will be checking what I've written to make sure I'm not leading the country's youth down pre-modern educational paths (I think one can mention adjectives, yes?) because I was educated during Jurassic times in the 70s when we didn't learn much and I arrived at university to study Arabic without ever having encountered the accusative of anything.
I actually had to ask my mother to lend me her 1940s English grammar book, oh the shame of it. Then before I came to France I did a TEFL course in Mayfair where they put butter in sarnies not margarine, and discovered even more gaps in my education. Finally, after teaching for a few years, I could not look another present perfect exercise in face without bashing my head against a beer bottle, but I did at least know what it was.
Which means, I suppose, that I'm vaguely qualified to write literacy notes for an educational resource. I've convinced myself; I don't feel such a fraud now. Phew!