Learning to read 'properly' by moving between parallel literacy classes.

Robertson, Leena Helavaara ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0641-8286 (2006) Learning to read 'properly' by moving between parallel literacy classes. Language and education, 20 (1) . pp. 44-61. ISSN 0950-0782 [Article] (doi:10.1080/09500780608668709)


This paper explores what kinds of advantages and strengths the process of learning to read simultaneously in different languages and scripts might bring about. It is based on a socio-cultural view of learning and literacy and examines early literacy in three parallel literacy classes in Watford, England. It analyses the learning experiences of five bilingual children who are of second or third generation Pakistani background. At the start of the study the children are five years old and they attend the same school and class. They learn to read in English during their daily literacy hour lessons; their home language is Pahari1. They attend weekly Urdu lessons that take place in a community language school. They also learn to read in classical Arabic - in a language they do not speak or understand - in their daily Qur'anic classes and, typically, in the local mosque. The data shows that the children learn to switch between three literacy systems. They talk about their literacy learning in terms of 'how you got to do it' and 'do it properly', which varies from class to class. They use a different range of learning strategies in establishing how to read with meaning. Rather than finding these - or the different related languages and scripts - confusing, they have a powerful impact in enabling the children to see literacies as systems that change and that can be manipulated. This kind of analytical approach of understanding 'proper' reading is based on the children's varied experiences of parallel literacy classes.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Centre for Education Research and Scholarship (CERS)
A. > School of Health and Education > Education
Item ID: 6617
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Ms Jyoti Zade
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2010 09:42
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:21
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/6617

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