What is Literacy?
How do we learn language?
Speaking and Listening
We all learned our first language the same - through interacting with the world around us. Normally, that starts with family and gradually expands as we venture out of the house. We listen to what we hear around us - we learn vocabulary, tone, intonation, syntax, until we are ready to form our own words through speech and imitating the sounds, words, and phrases spoken by those around us. This is a natural process whether it's your first, second, or fifth language. This spoken content can be in many forms: conversation, books read out loud, music, TV. We use this language to build our vocabulary and understanding of our culture.
Reading and Writing
We build off our oral language skills and apply that knowledge to reading and writing. We slowly match the sounds of what we hear to the shapes on the page. What letters make what sounds and how do these letters combine to make words and sentences? Most three year olds will have heard about 10 million words and expressions. This is then transferred to learning to read and write. It's much easier to figure out how to sound out a word you already know. Once basic reading skills are developed, learners focus on comprehension and inference, leading to independent and confident readers.
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