These examples indicate that early acts of literacy were closely tied to power and chiefly used for management practices, and probably less than 1% of the population was literate, as it was confined to a very small ruling elite.

they shall give him twenty Psalms or two of the Apostles' epistles or some other part of Scripture. And if he is illiterate he shall go at the first, third and sixth hours to someone who can teach and has been appointed for him. He shall stand before him and learn very studiously and with all gratitude. The fundamentals of a syllable, the verbs and nouns shall all be written for him and even if he does not want to he shall be compelled to read.

even the common people, both in town and country, are equally intense in their admiration. Frequently, have we seen the butcher-boy, with his tray on his shoulder, reading with the greatest avidity the last “Pickwick”; the footman (whose fopperies are so inimitably laid bare), the maidservant, the chimney sweep, all classes, in fact, read “Boz”.

Upon the speedy provision of elementary education depends our industrial prosperity. It is of no use trying to give technical teaching to our citizens without elementary education; uneducated labourers—and many of our labourers are utterly uneducated—are, for the most part, unskilled labourers, and if we leave our work–folk any longer unskilled, notwithstanding their strong sinews and determined energy, they will become overmatched in the competition of the world.
Literacy has rapidly spread in several regions over the last twenty-five years.
Gender parity indices in youth literacy rates by region, 1990–2015. Progress towards gender parity in literacy started after 1990.

Other ways in which visual arts have been integrated into literacy instruction for migrant populations include integrating aspects of visual art with the blending of core curricular goals.

In working with illiterate people (and individuals with low-proficiency in an L2) following the composition of some artifact like in taking a photo, sketching an event, or painting an image, a stage of orality has been seen as an effective way to understand the intention of the learner.

In the following image (see right) you can see two samples 1) One in Ethiopia from stencil to more developed composition based on a village tour, photography, and paintings. 2) In the Middle East at a tailor's shop focusing English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and in this example the writing has evolved from photography, sketching, and in situ exposure for the instructor (much like the village tour in sample one).

From the work based in Ethiopia, participants were asked to rate preference of activity, on a scale of 1–10. The survey prompt was: On a scale of 1 - 10 how would you rate photography as an activity that helped you get inspiration for your writing activities (think of enjoyment and usefulness). The following activities were rated, in order of preference - activities used as primers for writing:

In bringing work together from students in culminating projects, authorship programs have been successful in bringing student work together in book format. Such artifacts can be used to both document learning, but more importantly reinforce language and content goals.

The culmination of such writings, into books can evoke both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Form feedback by students involved in such initiatives the responses have indicated that the healthy pressures of collective and collaborative work was beneficial.

Most illiterate persons now live in Southern Asia or sub-Saharan Africa.

Access to literacy in the United States is affected by historical developments in media, race, immigration, and chattel slavery.

Cultural and westernized literacy for Native Americans in the United States

The literacy rate of Algeria is around 70% mark, which is attributed to the fact that education is compulsory and free in Algeria up to age of 17

The literacy rate in Kenya among people below 20 years of age is over 70%, as the first 8 years of primary school are provided tuition-free by the government. In January 2008, the government began offering a restricted program of free secondary education. Literacy is much higher among the young than the old population, with the total being about 81.54% for the country. Most of this literacy, however, is elementary—not secondary or advanced.

However, there are a great number of people who lack literacy and opportunities for continuing education. There is also a substantial gender gap. The literacy rate for men stands at 55%, and for women it's only 29.8%. The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning has provided technical support to the Government of Afghanistan since 2012 with the aim of improving the literacy skills of an estimated 1.2 million people.

Approximately 56% of Australians aged 15 to 74 achieve Level 3 literacy or above Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011–2012 and 83% of five-year-olds are on track to develop good language and cognitive skills Australian Early Development Census 2012 summary report. In 2012–2013, Australia had 1515 public library service points, lending almost 174 million items to 10 million members of Australian public library services, at an average per capita cost of just under AU$45 Australian Public Library Statistics 2012–2013.