Saturday, August 04, 2007
I’m nearly through with the revised version of ‘Early Reading Development’ and have been quite struck with what’s different now, eight or nine years down the line since I first wrote the chapter. Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised. After all I’ve spent the intervening years trying to convince people that literacy is changing! But first, something that seems fairly enduring – and that’s the discourse around early literacy. Professional sources, research and curricula work together to privilege storybook reading. It’s not surprising that research shows the beneficial effects of book reading when success is determined by school routines that value the same thing. Meanwhile, literacy practices are probably more diverse than ever before. The intersection of varied cultural and technological resources accounts for this diversification. Interestingly, though, official discourse on literacy weighs in heavily on early reading and particularly with the small-part phonics industry – almost, one might suppose to lock down diversity and fluidity. This speaks to the idea of early innoculation in print literacy, so powerfully argued by Luke and Luke here. The net effect of this is that there is insufficient material to fully illustrate alternative models of reading development. I feel the best I can do is set up a dialogue between old literacy and new literacy in this area.