Literacy is a multifaceted process that goes beyond the basic understanding of acquisition o primary cognitive skills of reading, writing, and oral speaking. The process involves the use of skills in ways that promotes; social-economic progress, capacity building, critical reflection and social awareness as the root of social and personal transformation. The processes conjoin to exhibit a literate society (Shawn et al., 2013).
Emergent conceptual distinctions of the literacy understanding clearly outline four approaches to demystifying literacy understanding. Literacy as a skill, the skills encompasses cognitive skills of reading, oral and writing skills. Reading is the verbal identification and interpretation of syllables and words to decipher intended meaning. Writing is penning down syllables, words, phrases and sentences with a constructive meaning. Oral skills involve intellectual understanding and derivation of objective meaning by the second party in a verbal communication (Shawn et al., 2013).
Literacy as a learning process: with continuous learning, the result is literacy hence; literacy viewed as a broad-based active approach to articulate learning. Furthermore, literacy can be described as a numerical skill: the various numerical situations derive their basis on literacy as a learning tool for application mathematics. The situational applications of numerical literacy include (Shawn et al., 2013).
Decision situations: require individuals to acquire and consider multiple information to determine the appropriate course of action. Also, Generative decisions apply literacy as a skill: requires numerical counting, quantification and statistical analysis of figures to derive meaning while interpretive situations involve making sense of text-based or verbal data.
Literacy as a text: this is the subject matter consumed by a literate society i.e. textbooks, novels, and fiction. Ideological content varies depending on the complexity of the subject of discussion. The approach considers discrete passages of texts linguistically referred to as discourse, influenced by socio- political theories and practices (Shawn et al., 2013).
Emergent literacy and the importance
Emergent literacy encompasses knowledge, skills, and attitudes that form the development precursors to the conventional styles of writing and reading. Emergency literacy skills start developing at an early infant stage, through progressive participation with adults in constructive activities. The activities include oral language use, printing concepts, alphabetic knowledge, visual- perceptive skills, emergent reading, and writing (Philip, n.d).
The three basic domains of emergent literacy include oral language, phonological processing (ability to keep sound-based information in memory) and print knowledge (Philip, n.d). The chief importance of emergent literacy is that it builds the language foundation of a child towards a more efficient self-expression and actualization. The multifaceted processes of learning in emergent literacy ensure a whole round developmental capacity of a child (Philip, n.d).
Differences between emergent literacy and reading readiness
Emergent literacy and reading readiness are early childhood approaches in children development (Kaderavek & Justice, 2000). The approaches promote natural and instructional means respectively towards literacy growth of the child. There is clear difference between the two approaches concerning the style of application and processes involved. The differences include (UNESCO, 2006). Reading readiness is skilled based while emergent literacy is a child- centered. This implies that, the learning process through reading readiness based on instructional guide while, child-centered learning that assumes a natural course of learning with the immediate environment (UNESCO, 2006).
Reading readiness follows a predetermined order of scope and sequence of learning while emergent literacy assumes learning through real observations within natural settings and processes (Philip, n.d).Reading readiness promotes a pushdown curriculum that focuses on time, tasks, structures, routines, and standardization while emergent literacy appreciates the learning curve differences among children through personal rate of learning and development to cater for different children needs (Johnson, 2017).
Conclusively, literacy is a complex web of learning processes that encompass all aspects of child growth. The processes shape the grammatical, oral, and numerical articulateness of a child in future. Literacy forms the building blocks of self-expression and self-fulfillment in a child provided the right approach application in teaching children literacy.
Johnson, A. (2017). Emergent Literacy vs. Reading readiness. Retrieved from
Kaderavek, J. & Justice, L. (2000). Children with LD as emergent readers: Bridging the gap to conventional reading. Retrieved from: http://www.ldonline.org/article/6278
Philip, B. (n.d). What is emergent literacy: What it is and why it matters. Retrieved from:
Shawn, I., Alonso, J., Nese, J. & Tindal, G. (2013). Learning to read: Kindergarten readiness growth in reading skills. Research brief 4. National Center on Assessment and Accountability for Special Education. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED560741
UNESCO. (2006). Understanding of literacy. Education for all global monitoring report, chapter 6. Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/education/GMR2006/full/chapt6_eng.pdf