Literacy – Don't Take it for Granted (2012)


This essay, written by the senior vice president and chief economist with the TD Bank Group, appeared in an abridged form in the Globe and Mail newspaper on September 7, 2012, the day before International Literacy Day, which provides an opportunity to highlight and emphasize the importance of literacy as an essential skill.

The author says many people are not aware that Canada faces a literacy challenge because they think of literacy as a binary outcome: someone is either literate or not. However, there is a wide range of proficiency in literacy, from non-existent to almost complete mastery. Along this spectrum, there is a level of proficiency that correlates with markedly better employment and income outcomes.

Investment in literacy benefits both the economy and society more broadly. Higher literacy can reduce poverty; help immigrants integrate better into Canadian society; promote financial literacy; lead to better health outcomes; and contribute to more civic involvement.

One of the greatest challenges is that literacy is deeply underappreciated, the author notes. Those with strong communication and numeracy skills take them for granted and cannot imagine a world without them. Many of those with weak literacy skills do not recognize how they are being held back, and the opportunities they are forgoing.

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APA citation
Craig Alexander. Literacy – Don't Take it for Granted 2012. Web. 17 May. 2022 <>
Craig Alexander (2012). Literacy – Don't Take it for Granted. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from
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