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Literacy and Numeracy Essay

Literacy can be defined as the ability to communicate and make meaning by use of varied socially contextual signs. In different degrees of developmental ability, it is true that a literate individual can obtain and communicate meaning, and make use of their knowledge to accomplish an intended goal or purpose that needs the application of language skills, be they written or spoken.Literacy has been found to develop over time during when students progress from becoming skilled readers as they can understand and make an analysis of a given complex text. It is true that reading for understanding needs an active process of thinking that is usually determined by the prior knowledge and experience of the leader (Bhola, 1994).  

The strategies that are used in order to increase literacy development, concentrate on bettering reading skills as well as developing and bettering the higher-order thinking skills which can enable students to understand, easily analyze, and convey some given ideas. Scientific literacy is defined as the knowledge and discernment of scientific processes and concepts that are needed for personal decision making, engagement in cultural and civic affairs, and cost-effective productivity. Scientific literacy entails that an individual can inquire, determine, or find answers to questions that are gained from curiosity concerning the daily experiences. This implies that an individual develops the capability to describe, explicate, and anticipate natural phenomena (Bhola, 1994).

Scientific literacy is concerned with having the ability to read and understand the scientific articles in the popular press as well as to take part in social conversation concerning the cogency of the conclusions. After the development of scientific literacy, an individual can be able to identify scientific issues that underlie local and national decisions as well as expressing positions that are technologically and scientifically informed. A literate person is always capable of evaluating the worth of scientific information based on its origin and the methods that are used to make it exist. The topic of probability in mathematics requires reading comprehension and therefore encourages development of literacy (Jarman & Mcclune, 2007).

Numeracy can be defined as the ability of an individual to reason out with numbers as well as other concepts in mathematics. So that one is considered numerically literate, he or she must be comfortable with reasoning and logic. In mathematics and other sciences, there are many areas that involve numeracy, for example probability, statistics, geometry, orders of magnitude, algebra, basic numbers, Punnett square, and carbon dating problems. Numeracy is concerned with developing competence and confidence with measures and numbers. It involves an understanding of the system of numbers, a repertory of mathematical methods, and an ability as well as inclination to solve spatial or quantitative problems in varied contexts. Numeracy also requires an understanding in the manner in which data values are gathered by measuring and counting, and presenting the analyzed values in charts, tables and graphs among other diagrams of presentation (Westwood, 2008).

The great psychologists like Jean Piaget did thorough research concerning children of different ages. He found that quantity and the concept of numbers in children develop with age. For instance, in a situation where a liquid is emptied from a short but wide container onto a tall but thin container, a child who is five years old usually thinks the quantity of that liquid increases, but a ten-year-old child understands that the quantity of the liquid does not change.

Probability as a topic in mathematics is very important for the development of numeracy in students. Some games involve the use of die and their scores are based on probability. The use of die encourages the development of knowledge with fractions and possibilities of outcomes. It is of great significance to understand the basics of probability since it brings about the context in which there is an actual use of decimals and fractions, and this will be important in the future studies of students. Therefore probability encourages gradual development of numeracy skills in students encouraging them to build confidence in the field of mathematics (Westwood, 2008).