CART BEFORE THE HORSE IN LITERACY
Literacy exponents extol the virtues of reading and writing. These two disciplines are paramount when the subject is being discussed. It seems that success and understanding in the literacy domain depends on the abilities of students to read and write. Certainly it is the reading and writing elements of literacy that are appealed to during the NAPLAN testing regime.
How sad it is that listening and speaking are often overlooked as important components of literacy. Listening is the first element that comes into play and from the first day a child is born. From listening comes learning, the ability to comprehend and think.
Similarly but at a slightly later stage, speech develops and with it comes communication based on oral exchange.
It is the listening and speaking elements of literacy that are too often put at nought, with the focus going to treading and writing in almost a premature manner.
In short, there are four quadrants to literacy, all developing at different times but all important in developing literacy for and in children. Let’s not discount the first and second quadrants, listening and speaking, but accord to them the importance they deserve.
Minimising the significance of listening and speaking and focussing only on reading and writing is tantamount to putting the cart before the horse.