Development of Literacy 24th, July, 2012 Development of Literacy The process of literacy, according to various studies, is enhanced or hindered by psychological, linguistic, and socio-cultural forces. Consequently, all forms of instructional processes must be tailored on the need to appropriate these forces in a manner that serves the course of literacy…
Indeed, some studies have emphasized that the development of literacy mirrors the individual’s levels of mental development. On this account, it might be necessary for instructional strategies to recognize the variations in the individual capabilities and social forces that determine the general process of mental development. A study conducted by McVee, Dunsmore, and Gavelek (2005) focused on the schema theory in the understanding of the development of literacy from an individual’s point of view. This study distinguished between the schema theory and socio-cultural theories, which have attempted to explain the process of literacy development within the context of social interactions and historical factors. In order to emphasize on the individual initiatives at the center of literacy development, the schema theory cites the example of the individual efforts employed by a child in the development of language and literacy. Children will tend to devise customized methods that are appropriate to address their peculiar needs in accordance with the kind of challenges that they encounter. This observation is consistent with a range of studies that have shown that language learners from different socio-cultural backgrounds will tend to manifest different capacities in the process of language acquisition. In the determination of the most appropriate instructional strategies, language teachers should consider the fact that language is basically a naming system. It reflects the manner in which cultures, societies, and communities choose to name the world and things around them. Naturally, this naming system is controlled by the traditions, values, norms, and belief systems of the respective groups (Anderson, 1994). The system of naming varies from one society to another. This means that a literacy classroom may not be necessarily homogenous. If language and literacy development represent worldviews, it follows that literacy students from monolingual and bilingual backgrounds will have different experiences in the course of the learning process. A monolingual learner may encounter clashing worldviews that are essentially different from the world that he or she is accustomed. This may reflect through the challenges of comprehending the various signs and signifiers that a resident in languages (Casson, 1983). On the other hand, a bilingual student may encounter significant challenges that relate to a mismatch in meanings between the two languages. Therefore, this calls for a multiplicity of strategies in order to address both the literacy needs for the groups and individuals across all observable variations. Some studies have pointed out the need to consider the impact of linguistic variations on literacy developments. Linguistic variations are generally diagnosed in the differences in syntax, lexicon, prosody, and phonology (Kucer, 2009). These four elements, syntax, lexicon, prosody, and phonology are central in the process of meaning making. As such, it is important for literacy instructors to examine and explore the various differences that manifest between these elements. Usually, linguistic variations may lead to distortion or misrepresentation of the intended meanings in language (Casson, 1983). It might be important to consider the differences in ...
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