The key words of the theme this year present vital challenges and stimulation to any one interested in literacy matters. The first is the word family which immediately evokes thoughts of the Primal unit of any society. The family is everything. Indeed as Confucius once remarked, if there is harmony in the family, there is beauty in character and if there be beauty in character, there is order and prosperity in the nation. The other keyword is Literacy which means an ability to access and respond to messages and ideas in the printed form. This is of course literacy at its barest level of conception — at a higher level, it would involve an ability to evaluate, infer
primary and secondary levels of signification and react appropriately (Baynham, 1995; Bhola, 1994). Indeed, literacy workers now make important distinctions between different forms of Literacy – Prose Literacy – ability to read and react to texts (posters, tracts, newspapers etc.);
document literacy — ability to read and react to documents such as bank slips, income tax forms, health registration slips, voters’ registration forms etc. ;and quantitative literacy – ability to read and react to texts involving use of numbers. Skills of addition, subtraction, division and multiplication are usually activated in the exercise of this type of Literacy. Ability to read and react to graphical information, tables etc this also part of quantitative literacy even though here there is an overlap with visual literacy. Visual literacy is one other important dimension of literacy and involves an ability to read images, icons and indexes properly and to infer meaning from them, either singly or when supported by text .lt is said that visual literacy is more culture bound than other forms of literacy. These distinctions are, of course, largely for purposes of conceptual clarification as a single text may involve all four literacies at different points and in varying doses.