There are many things in our environment which require reading. Have a look around. What do you see which requires reading – our phone messages, signs, recipes, receipts, packaging? Almost everything requires us to be able to read.

But what if reading is hard for you? How would that feel? Let’s try reading the following below:

Artikel 27

Een ieder heeft het recht om vrijelijk deel te nemen aan het culturele leven van de gemeenschap, om te genieten van kunst en om deel te hebben aan wetenschappelijke vooruitgang en de vruchten daarvan.

Een ieder heeft het recht op de bescherming van de geestelijke en materiële belangen, voortspruitende uit een wetenschappelijk, letterkundig of artistiek werk, dat hij heeft voortgebracht.

What do you think it says? For people who do not have sufficient reading skills, reading everyday items could feel like this. The passage above is actually part of Article 27 from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It actually says:

Article 27

1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

What is Functional Reading?

Functional reading is the ability to read well enough to participate in all daily activities e.g. reading menus and signs.

What Can I Do to Encourage Functional Reading?

Reading is more than just reading a book. Using literacy materials in everyday life shows children how reading is used in day to day life. Some examples of items which demonstrates everyday reading includes:

  • Menus
  • Recipes
  • Signs
  • Labels

It is important to model to your child and let them see you read. Remember reading doesn’t only have to be about story books!

Encourage your child to complete activities which require reading. Some examples are listed below:

  • Cooking (e.g., reading a recipe).
  • Craft activities (e.g. reading directions on how to build a kite).
  • Reading books about nature or other topics (e.g. identifying different shells or clouds) and finding them.

These skills are also important for adults. There are many adults who could benefit from some help to learn functional reading in our community. Speech Pathologists are trained to assist people of all ages develop literacy skills to help increase participation in everyday life.