Literacy and Individual Consciousness

In F. Niyi Akinnaso’s essay, “Literacy and Individual Consciousness”, he discusses his own struggle with literacy throughout his lifetime. He explains how in the small community he grew up in, people could neither read nor write. However, he continues by clarifying, “…the notion that literacy is more than the act of reading and writing” (Akinnaso 145). Furthermore stating, “…literacy is given an extended definition to include ways of perceiving, thinking, speaking, evaluating, and interacting that characterize a group of individuals” (Akinnaso 145). It’s interesting how Akinnaso relates interaction within a specific culture to the way that an individual perceives literacy and what exactly it means to them.

I found it intriguing that Akinasso’s teachers had such a profound effect on him when he was younger and helped him to view literacy in a different light. He even says, “…it has to be noted that I had no reading partner at home. There was no one to read to me and almost no one to read to” (Akinnaso 145). This is hard for me to believe because my parents were such a huge part of my childhood and definitely made a huge impact on me. They were always supporting me; helping me with my homework, reading to me, coming to all my soccer games and taking me to practice. I couldn’t imagine not having them there when I was a child and especially to help me when I needed it.

This essay just shows you how much of an impact the environment and people around you have on your interpretation of literacy. Literacy is always evolving and changing and as a result people are impacted differently, viewing literacy in their own way.

Works Cited

Akinnaso, F. Niyi. “Literacy and Individual Consciousness.” Literacy: A Critical Sourcebook. Boston: Bedford, 2001. 138-155. Print.


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