Project READ defines literacy as follows:

Literacy is more than knowing how to read and write.

A person who is literate can use reading, writing, speaking, and numerical skills effectively to understand and participate in the world around them.

Literacy is not a fixed skill. It needs to be exercised and challenged. Otherwise, the skill will not strengthen and may weaken.

There are 5 levels to define literacy in Canada. A person may be able to function at one of the lower levels, but would still be considered to have problems with literacy. Please see our literacy levels page for definitions of these levels. See our facts page for information on general literacy statistics.