It is widely believed that the term literacy implies different meanings in different communities which underlines the concept that literacy or the use of language is impossibly closely connected to a language’s social context of use…
The process of literacy is actually influenced by both traditional and functional perspectives which will be contemplated in this essay. The traditional perspectives differ from the functional perspectives in respect that while the former assists the encounter of literacy with the printed texts in reading and writing in the schools and keeps the journey of literacy limited to the school domain and educational context of schooling, the latter encompasses a different view which grooms literacy beyond the school domain to make it serve bigger purposes in life. Both perspectives play a phenomenal role in transforming one into a literate person. It is also worth mentioning that a variety of ways is used in different communities to include and socialize children into literacy and those ways may stand in contrast with each other. So the issue of how different language practices need to be sufficiently tailored in respect to different kinds of learners as a way of speeding up the process of their socialization into literacy will also be explored in this essay.
Literacy is a multidimensional activity based on a wide range of perspectives. According to one definition, it is considered a product of a wide variety of component skills all of which are essential to master high-level performance. “Phonological awareness, letter knowledge, automaticity in reading letter sequences, and lexical access could be identified key component reading skills” (Snow 2004, p. 3). The definitions for literacy differ enormously. Holistic thinkers see the act of reading as a solitary and integrated capacity and stress that attention should be paid to solitary components in reading instruction as meaning-making forms the bedrock of good reading skills. They in contrast to componential view do not consider literacy to be the product of an array of component skills which are mentioned earlier. While some consider literacy to be a solitary activity, others claim that it should essentially be viewed as an “interactive, collaborative activity embedded in social purposes, even when the act of reading itself is solitary” (Snow 2004, p. 3). As defined by the solitary viewers, reading and writing do not form collaborative activities but should be acknowledged primarily as “inside-the-head psycholinguistic processes” (Snow 2004, p. 3). The traditional perspective remains central to literacy while living in the present global environment heavily influenced by technology has developed new literacy needs. The autonomous model of literacy is one of the main models based on the traditional perspective according to which literacy does not have its roots embedded in the social context and exists “independently of specific contexts of social practice and producing effects independently of contextual social factors” (Lankshear 1999). So, the literacy practices in accordance with the traditional perspective are viewed independent of dynamic trend in everyday practical life. In contrast to this, the functional perspective based ideological model rejects the notion that societal contexts do not play any role in the process of making a person literate. Literacy in many forms keeps evolving and is embedded in multiple contexts including “particular relations and structures of power, values, beliefs, goals and purposes, interests, economic and political conditions, and so on” (Lankshear 1999). It is important to acknowledge that the practice of literacy originates not from the literacy itself as implied by the traditional perspective but from the combined action of literary components and multiple other social factors. The development of literacy does not remain restricted to the schools alone rather it keeps developing in the social life and ...
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