Becoming Literate (Updated)

  • Title:Becoming Literate (Updated)
  • Author:Marie Clay
  • Publication Date:March 2015
  • Grade Level:K-2
  • ISBN:9780325074429
  • Publisher:Heinemann

From her lifelong study of children’s development and learning, Marie Clay traces children’s paths of progress in literacy learning. Acclaimed classic since its first publication, Becoming Literate: The Construction of Inner Control is essential reading for teachers and educators committed to enabling all children to become literate.

Effective teachers have a sense of the changes to expect as children begin to engage with early literacy instruction. Becoming Literate provides a rich description of those progressions. But Marie Clay does not prescribe instructional methods or sequences. She urges teachers to base their teaching decisions on careful observation of children’s reading and writing behaviors, while questioning accounts that conflict with the patterns of responding that they observe.

The information and understandings in this book provide guidance for delivering powerful literacy learning experiences for all children in the early years of formal instruction, from their first days of school to the relative independence of their third year.

Key chapter content includes:

  • Language and literacy learning before school
  • The transition to formal schooling and engagement with classroom programs
  • Ways in which existing oral language competencies and knowledge of the world become linked with children’s developing awareness of print
  • The constraints and opportunities provided by different instructional approaches
  • The development of processing activities such as self-monitoring, searching, and self-correcting.

A picture emerges of how competent young children construct self-extending systems of literacy expertise. Successful literacy learners call up a range of ways of working with the information in texts and become able to learn more from their own efforts to read and write text.

Finally, aware that some children for a variety of reasons do not construct an inner control of literacy processing in their initial encounters with formal instruction, Marie Clay argues that these children need extra resources and effective early intervention in order to build a sound foundation for further education.


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