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Written Vs. Oral Literacy: Which is Better?


Literacy is a skill that is involved in almost everything we do. It can be shown through oral literacy or written literacy.

Different cultures are known to learn literacy in different ways, but is there a right or wrong way to develop and learn literacy?

Is there an easier way to comprehend and retain literacy?

Does this skill just depend on the individual?

Written Literacy

There are so many advantages and disadvantages to written communication. A big advantage of written communication having the option to alter and carefully craft their sentences and thoughts. Writing gives an individual the space and time to develop an idea the way they want it. It can also give the individual more time to think and reflect on what they wrote.

Written communication also gives the individual an advantage to go back and fix/ improve on any grammar issues that may be involved in the text. When you’re speaking to someone, you don’t have the chance to fix your grammar after you incorrectly stated something, but you do have that option when the communication and text are physically written.

Though written communication can be very helpful, there are some downsides to it as well. For example, it’s easier in oral communication to build and expand off of ideas in things like a conversation about a certain topic.

Written communication could even take away the “human” aspect of communicating with others. We usually tend to write toward our audiences and what we feel they would like. This can change the way we write our texts and that takes away from the “human” aspect of communication. We tend to leave out our personalities and real-life thoughts out of our written communication. This is because depending on who our audience is, it can be viewed as “wrong” or “unprofessional.”

Oral Literacy

Oral communication can be beneficial to an individual since it allows for ideas to flow more easily. It also allows for messages to be received easier and quicker, which can be more efficient when having a conversation.

Oral communication can also be beneficial when showing personality and real-life scenarios through your writing. It is easier to connect to your audience when you are speaking to them since it is easier for them to sense your tone and emotion. In writing, it can be a lot more difficult to convey emotion and tone, so having that oral communication could be key to conveying an important message to your audience.

The downside to oral communication is there is more room for errors in the way that an individual speaks. Oral communication does not allow for revisions and corrections after something is already said. Written communication is the only form that allows you to revise and really think about what and how you write your thoughts.

So, which one is better?

The answer…well… there is no answer. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and will benefit an individual in different ways. Learning how to incorporate both into your literacy can help significantly with getting your name and work out there. So, do whichever one you think will benefit you the most as an individual.


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