Dimensions of Literacy: A Conceptual Base for Teaching Reading and Writing in School Settings

Dimensions of Literacy: A Conceptual Base for Teaching Reading and Writing in School Settings

Dimensions of Literacy: A Conceptual Base for Teaching Reading and Writing in School Settings

Dimensions of Literacy: A Conceptual Base for Teaching Reading and Writing in School Settings

Synopsis

This popular text examines literacy from a multidimensional and interdisciplinary perspective. It "unpackages" the various dimensions of literacy--linguistic, cognitive, sociocultural, and developmental--and at the same time accounts for the interrelationships among them. The goal is to provide a conceptual foundation upon which literacy curriculum and instruction in school settings can be grounded. Dimensions of Literacy: A Conceptual Base for Teaching Reading and Writing in School Settings, Second Edition: *Links theory and research to practice in an understandable, user-friendly manner--in each chapter as well as in a final chapter focused exclusively on instructional implications; *Provides in-depth coverage of the various dimensions of literacy--linguistic (the nature of language, oral-written language relationships, language variation); cognitive (constructive nature of perception, the reading process, understanding written discourse, the writing process); sociocultural (literacy as social practices, authority of written discourse); and developmental (constructing the written language system); and *Includes demonstrations and hands-on activities; authentic reading and writing events that reflect key linguistic, cognitive, sociocultural, and developmental concepts; and tables and figures that summarize the concepts. New in the Second Edition: *Expanded discussion of the "reading wars," the nature of perception during reading, the comprehension process, and the writing process; *Separate chapters on the nature of oral and spoken language relationships, and understanding written discourse; and *Integration of instructional implications and pedagogy throughout all chapters. Educational institutions--and teachers in particular--are currently under intense scrutiny as the standards movement and high-stakes testing increasingly determine what is taught, when it is taught, and how it is taught. If literacy teachers are to have a voice in these policies and practices, it is critical that they have an understanding of what literacy entails. Because they work with students' reading and writing on a daily basis, teachers have an intuitive sense of the complexities of the literacy processes. The intent of Dimensions of Literacy: A Conceptual Base for Teaching Reading and Writing in School Settings, Second Edition is to make this teacher knowledge explicit, as well as to more fully develop it. It is essential reading for all teachers and students in the field of literacy education.

Excerpt

Since my days as a doctoral student, the field of literacy and literacy education has expanded significantly. In fact, until recently, referring to literacy as a field or a discipline was not commonplace. Today, however, literacy studies—under a variety of names—can be found at most major universities across the United States. Accompanying this ongoing expansion of the domain of literacy—as well as promoting it—has been an evolution of our understanding of literacy itself. I entered graduate school when cognition was all the rage, having recently supplanted or at least overshadowed the linguistic revolution for those of us with an interest in text processing. Since leaving graduate school as a student and returning as a faculty member, literacy has continued to evolve from a language process to an act of cognition, and currently, to a sociocultural expression. What has been lacking in this evolutionary process, however, is a synthesis of what we know—or at least what we think we know—literacy to be. Too often, each new view of literacy has replaced rather than extended and reformulated prior views. Conceptualizing literacy in a more harmonic and holistic manner, therefore, is the primary goal of this book.

Paradoxically, although this book highlights theory and research more than practice, teachers and teacher educators are its primary audience. Never in my lifetime have educational institutions, and teachers in particular, come under such scrutiny by the public. In many respects the standards movement, high-stakes testing, and leaving no children behind are holding classrooms hostage, determining what is taught, when it is taught, and how it is taught. If teachers of literacy are to have a voice in these policies, it is critical that they have an understanding of what literacy entails. Although politicians may understand literacy in reduced ways, teachers have an intuitive sense of the complexities of the literacy processes because they work with students who are reading and writing on a daily basis. This book attempts to make this teacher knowledge explicit and to more fully develop it.

The book is organized around four interrelated themes: linguistic, cognitive, sociocultural, and developmental. Each theme represents an aspect or dimension . . .

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