The knowledge has to be all encompassing to include foundations of literacy theory and learning such as Behaviourism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism. Knowledge of literacy theory is important for teachers in their role of helping children to develop as readers because it provides them an understanding of the overall social and cultural context within which the act of reading is taking place, provides the teacher many tools for enhancing reading experience of students, enables the teacher to take on different roles in teaching and conversion of reading in of varied types of literacy texts into knowledge.
Reading is not a mechanical act as is commonly believed but is a social and cultural step of communication. A teacher would thus have to understand the full impact of reading on a student to include the How, What, What for, and Why of the practice. Literacy theories provide the teacher full understanding of the social and cultural contexts thereby enabling him to be able to impart education contextually. Since theory is generalized in nature, it also provides the teacher a broad framework within which to situate teaching, thereby enhancing quality. This may be particularly relevant in the context of teaching reading to children who are first generation learners. Here literacy theory enables a teacher to adapt to the social environment of the learner much more easily than would have been otherwise possible. It also enables the teacher to indirectly influence learners through the reading habit and enrich themselves rather than becoming pupils by rote. Teacher has a very important role to play in such settings, and were teachers have a grounding in literacy theory, they would prove to be assets.
Literacy theory also provides a teacher many tools to enhance the students reading experience such as reading aloud, comprehension workshops and clubs which can substantially contribute to enhancing abilities. Literacy theory allows the teacher to experiment with greater confidence than otherwise, thereby providing a fresh impetus to knowledge. The expanded vision of the teacher develops more self-assurance and generates ability to reason for following a particular form of teaching thereby meeting the curiosity of the modern student. This will greatly enhance the value derived from reading by the students.
Literacy theory also enables a teacher to take on the role of a mentor, supporter of the student, guardian, encourager and facilitator. This multi faceted role may seem dichotomous, however is highly essential. For the teacher has to segregate students based on their abilities thereby to some she is the mentor, while to others a guardian or a facilitator based on the reading needs of the student. This ability comes about through understanding of social constructivism which provides an understanding of a learner as an individual with a distinct identity and needs. The multidimensional and complex construct of a person has to be understood by the teacher to enable imparting of supportive knowledge. Thereby a teacher will become a facilitator and not a mere instructor.
Such an intimate knowledge of the student cannot be developed by intuition but has to be built upon