Written by Judy David, M.A., CCC-SLP

What is Literacy? For 100 years or more, literacy has been synonymous with proficiency in reading, writing and math, popularized in a 1907 song as the 3 Rs: “Readin’ & ‘Ritin’ & ‘Rithmetic”. But for the 21st century, this definition is outdated and inadequate. The National Education Association has moved beyond just the 3 Rs to include the 4 Cs–Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity–skills needed for a comprehensive education and best opportunity for the future.

Critical Thinking is vital to literacy as the ability to sort through the barrage of information available in the digital age. Literacy in critical thinking includes being able to evaluate information, identify problems and solutions and make safe

Communication (listening, speaking, reading and writing) isn’t a new concept in schools, but the methods in which we communicate have changed significantly. Literacy must include the ability to negotiate social media, send e-mails and digital reports, and use technology in the classroom and beyond.

Collaboration requires the ability to work with a team, to network and share with people you may never actually meet. Literacy requires knowledge of cultural differences, appreciation of diversity and the ability to share information with others but still maintain and protect your own originality.

Creativity in the 21st century often depends on technology for creating a YouTube video, writing a blog or sharing original works with a vast audience. In the 21st century, Creative Literacy also means being able to see information in your own unique way to devise a plan or solution that no one else could.

Make sure your child masters the 3 Rs early to be ready for 21st century literacy.

  • Can your preschooler remember nursery rhymes and recognize the letters of his/her name?
  • Is your 5-year-old able to rhyme words and tell you beginning sounds?
  • Can your young student read new words and remember spelling words, math facts and lists?
  • Is your older student able to summarize, explain and evaluate what was read?
  • Can he/she communicate verbally and in writing, keep up with assignments, work independently?

If you answered no to any of these questions, your child may be showing signs of a language deficit. The therapists at Chesney Center Therapies can help! Contact us at (225) 302-5030 or therapy@chesneycentertherapies.com