Involved in the field of adult literacy for over 25 years, Helen McLeod was recognized in 2013 with the YWCA’s Woman of Distinction Award for her contribution in this field.

Helen reviewed various kinds of skills or competencies that have been called: literacy. Financial literacy. Media literacy. But perhaps as some new things are being framed as literacy, such as physical literacy, perhaps the word itself is getting watered down. 

Literacy still is a gradation. It is not, as once thought, activated by an on/off switch. That is, one can read or one cannot. Instead there is a continuum of understanding. Also, with new evolving technologies even people who identify as educated may have low literacy in new devices and processes. 

Helen then presented a number of myths about literacy and dispelled them. Helen’s presentation was followed by a lively Question and Answer section, leaving a number of members arguing for and against cursive writing as a skill to be taught in school.