The Collins English Dictionary (2015) defines literacy simply as ‘the ability to read and write’ or as ‘the ability to use language proficiently’. This essay will first discuss the theories of language and literacy acquisition and the steps, which children take to acquire them. It will then discuss the roles of the four strands of literacy education, reading, writing, speaking and listening as well as drama and role play across educational phases. It will go on to discuss the role of assessment for learning which influences the teaching and learning of literacy as well as the strategies used to help children acquire and develop language and literacy.
Throughout history researchers and scholars have endeavoured to solve the mystery of how people acquire their first language and how they develop their language skills. Numerous theories have been proposed in this field of research, each differing from the next, this is mainly due to the divided emphasis on nature vs. nurture.
The behaviourist theory (Skinner, 1953) emphasizes on the role of the child receiving reward for imitating observed speech. This can be witnessed in practice, as we inspire and motivate our pupils to become strong independent learners with the use of: stickers, golden time, house points, star of the week and post cards home. It is my understanding that language for learning is a good example of something that can be explained through stimulus- response approaches.
The nativist approach (Chomsky, 1972) disagrees with Skinner, as he asserts that we are biologically programmed to learn language and have a Language Acquisition Device (LAD), which allows us to process language. Chomsky’s social learning theory can be observed within our classrooms, as children are offered positive role models in supporting language and literacy through high levels of engagement with their teachers, carers and families. There are various strategies used to model these methods, such as; community learning...