"Literacy" is a word that usually means "knowing how to read," but there's a lot more to it than that. From the moment you're born, you begin learning about the sounds we put together to make words and what words mean, and as you get older, you get better and better at being able to match letters with the sounds they make, then string them together to sound out words. All through school, you'll get better and better at reading and writing as you learn more words and more ways that sentences are put together. With these skills, you'll be able to share your ideas with others, and you'll also be able to learn all sorts of things from books, newspapers, and other written sources. That's why literacy is such an important thing.
Learning to read is one of the most important things you'll ever learn, and the better you are at reading and understanding what you read, the more you'll be able to learn about the world. Also, being able to read and to show teachers that you understand what they ask you to read will help you to get good grades in school. Plus, reading can also help you get better at writing by giving you examples of new words and types of sentences and how they are used. Reading can be fun to do by yourself, but you can also learn a lot from listening to someone else read to you while you follow along. The more you read, the smarter you'll get!
Writing is also a big part of literacy. Being able to write can help you in a lot of ways, not just in school. Of course, you won't be able to get good grades if you can't write well, but writing also lets you take notes on what you learn. And writing plays a big part in being able to share your ideas with other people, whether you're sending a letter to your grandma or writing a letter to the newspaper about an issue that matters to you. There are lots of different types of writing, and like with reading, the more writing you do, the better you'll get at it.
Sometimes, adults use big words that kids can't understand. As you get older, it's important to grow your vocabulary, to learn more words. That's not just because you want to sound smart: Different words mean different things, so the more words you know, the more likely it is that you'll know exactly the right word to use to say what you want to say. Knowing more words also helps you understand more things that other people have written.
A lot of grammar is learned through reading and listening to how adults speak, but you'll still need to be taught the rules of grammar. Putting sentences together with good grammar helps to make sure that you say what you meant to say and that people will understand what you write. Using good grammar also keeps you from sounding silly by saying things like "goed" instead of "went" or "eated" instead of "ate." It might seem like there are a lot of rules about how to use words and how to put them together, but all of those rules are there for a reason: to make sure that what's written or said is clear.
Spelling is another thing you need to learn to make sure that you don't look silly and to make sure that people can understand what you write. It can sometimes be tricky to learn to spell, especially when you're learning a word that isn't spelled exactly how it sounds. But once you take the time to learn to spell properly, you'll be a much better writer.