Traditionally, the term literacy refers solely to the ability to read, write, and use arithmetic. In this view, the main aspect of literacy is to develop reading skills, which begin with the ability to understand spoken words, decode written words, and conclude the deep understanding of text. Once these skills are acquired, an individual can attain optimal language literacy, which includes reading and writing with accuracy and using the information/insights from the text as the bases of well-informed decisions, creative thinking, and writing skill.

According to UNESCO, the term literacy is defined as ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning enabling individuals to achieve their goals, develop their knowledge and potential, and participate fully in their community and wider society.

Nowdays, the concept of literacy has been expanded to include the ability to use language, numbers, images, computers, and other basic means in order to understand, communicate, access knowledge through technology and use the dominant symbol systems of a culture. People with good literacy skills are more likely to have better life qualities, economic well-being, family life, and civic or culture engagement.