Early literacy: Narratives of learning, discipline and enculturation
Current understandings about literacy have moved away from the belief that literacy is simply a process that individuals do in their heads. These understandings do not negate the importance of the individual aspects of literacy learning, but they emphasize understandings of literacy as a social practice. In many cases, responses to early literacy intervention seem to be grounded in theories that appear out of step with current literacy research and consequent evidence that literacy is socially and culturally constructed. One such response is the Reading Recovery programme based on Clay’s theory of literacy acquisition. Clay (1992) describes the programme as a second chance to learn. However, others have suggested that programmes like Reading Recovery may in fact work toward the marginalization of particular groups, thereby helping to maintain the status quo along class, gender and ethnic lines. This article allows two professionals to bring their insider’s knowledge of Reading Recovery to an analysis of the construction of the programme. The article interweaves this analysis with the personal narratives of the researchers as they negotiated the borders between different understandings and beliefs about literacy and literacy pedagogy.
Journal of Early Childhood Literacy