Literacy & Numeracy Week is observed annually in August and September each year, and this year it takes place from August 29 to September 4. It is an initiative that was started by the Australian government to encourage reading, writing, and numeracy in students as well as recognize their achievements and the work of teachers and parents in the fields.
History of Literacy & Numeracy Week
All facets of education stem from the basics — numbers and letters. This is why numeracy and literacy are such important structures that need to be imbibed at a young age. These disciplines are the beginning and end of all forms of education, teaching the basics of mathematics, reading, and writing.
The history of both concepts is almost as old as time and has been intertwined since their inception. Writing originated with the Sumerians through scripts and cuneiform on clay tablets. These forms were established to keep track of trade and agricultural production, which also led to the need and creation of numeric signs through ideograms and proto-cuneiform.
Hieroglyphs emerged containing the first phonetic value system, however, functional literacy which we apply in our daily lives was widespread by the Old Babylonian period. These records were all before the invention of alphabets as we now know them today.
Archeologists and historians have traced the origins of the alphabet back and forth between different cultures. Some have said the Ancient Greeks created consonants and vowels, others have said the people of Western Asia established the consonant structure prior, and others have found inscriptions tying the Canaanites to its discovery.
Whoever the originators were we are sure of one thing, our lives are better off because of their discovery. Literacy and Numeracy have come to play such a vital role in our innovation and development as humans, and it’s no surprise that the Australian government recognizes this and dedicated an entire week to it.
Literacy & Numeracy Week was created to encourage the exploration of literacy and numeracy activities. Digital literacy has also become a major part of the observance, to encourage the importance of learning digital skills in this new age.
Literacy & Numeracy Week timeline
The Ancient Sumerians discover writing.
Scholars find ancient Canaanite alphabetic inscriptions dating back to this time.
Modern industrialization lead to widespread high levels of literacy amongst farmers and skilled workers in England and Scotland.
Digital literacy is included in the observance of Literacy & Numeracy Week.
Literacy & Numeracy Week FAQs
Why is it important for children to learn literacy and numeracy?
It is important to include the foundations of literacy and numeracy at an early age because they lay a foundation for everyday decision-making. This is why we are encouraged to include our children in all things related to both fields all through the week. It helps them understand that such skills are needed for daily interaction, and fosters early understanding in those disciplines.
Is Literacy & Numeracy Week only observed in Australia??
Literacy & Numeracy Week was started by the Australian government and is celebrated all across the nation. However, it is an observance that is encouraged all over the world as it features two very important concepts that apply to all of mankind — literacy, and numeracy.
Is literacy the same as literature?
Literacy is simply the ability to read, write, and communicate effectively. This is completely different from literature which refers to collections of written works or an art discipline that studies the collection of written works.
How to Observe Literacy & Numeracy Week
Read to your kids
This week mostly encourages the participation of children as they are still in their formative years. Use this week to spend quality reading time with your children or children around you. Don’t just limit yourself to bedtime stories, dust off some of your favorite childhood books, and gather the kids around for storytime.
All through Literacy & Numeracy Week do your best to encourage the children around you to write at any given opportunity. Some ways you can go about that is having them practice their handwriting, write out the grocery list for shopping, or even write our measurements and ingredients for cooking. Whatever opportunity you get to write, make sure you involve your kids in it this week.
Play board games
Games can be a fun way to educate children, especially as they have relatively short attention spans. This week indulge kids in some fun spelling games like Pictionary, Boggle, or Scrabble. Make sure you don’t leave out the numeracy aspect, get them involved in games like Monopoly to cater to that.
5 Facts About Literacy
It’s a stress reliever
Reading for just six minutes a day is studied to reduce stress by a whole 68%.
It takes a book a day
If you read one book a day to your child, they would have been read approximately 1,825 books by the time they are five.
It’s the best vocabulary builder
Studies show that children learn 4,000 to 12,000 words per year through reading.
It pays off
Children who read up to a million words a year are in the top 2% of reading achievement.
It doesn’t take a lot
If you read just 20 minutes a day, you would have read over a million words by the end of the year.
Why Literacy & Numeracy Week is Important
It fosters education
Any opportunity to learn something new, or build upon previous knowledge is one we fully support. Literacy & Numeracy Week is special in its own right because it encourages learning in all ages, particularly in children.
It includes digital knowledge
One fantastic thing about this week is that it now includes the learning of digital and technological concepts. This is very important in the age we are in as it gets children learning the skills they need to keep up with our fast-paced world at such a young age.
It encourages creative learning
The good thing about Literacy & Numeracy Week is that it encourages learning in the most interesting, simple, and creative ways. It is not the typical brick-and-mortar form of teaching, but rather pushes us outside the box to look for more creative yet basic ways to impart knowledge in our children’s lives.
Literacy & Numeracy Week dates