Even as technology pervades almost every sphere of our lives, literacy has not lost its value in the 21st century. Considered one of the building blocks of scholastic and career success, being able to read and write is still a core skill that learners need to master in order to lay a solid educational foundation for the future.
According to the International Literacy Association, literacy can be defined as “the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, compute, and communicate using visual, audible, and digital materials across disciplines and in any context”.
The literacy outreach education programme, Every Child Ready to Read, sets out six pre-reading skills for children from birth to five years.
• Print motivation: How interested and excited children are about books.
• Print awareness: Knowing how to hold a book and how to follow words on a page.
• Phonological awareness: The understanding that words consist of smaller sounds.
• Vocabulary: Knowing the names of feelings, concepts, ideas and things, and being able to connect the words to real life.
• Narrative skills: The ability to describe things and events, and tell and understand stories.
• Letter knowledge: The awareness that each letter is different and has a unique name and sound.
In the modern age, new concepts like digital literacy (“the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills”, according to the American Library Association) and culturally relevant literacy are gaining ground alongside traditional thoughts about literacy, but the enduring benefits of basic literacy still hold true.
At Sparrow, we place a high premium on ensuring that all our learners are functionally literate, and the Link Literacy Project is just one initiative that aids this endeavour.
By developing literacy and numeracy in children for whom English is a second language, this project promotes literacy and assists learners with reading difficulties at 19 Link Centres in and around Johannesburg.
Because we know that reading and writing is essential to the future of our learners, even in an age where tech reigns supreme, we will always value the old-fashioned pleasure of reading, and we pride ourselves on passing this love for books on to every learner at Sparrow.