Foundational Language Literacy

The term literacy is becoming an all-encompassing word for almost any kind of learning. Any kind of knowledge – digital, nutritional, physical, financial, and so on. Just this morning I noticed on Twitter, articles about social media literacy, news literacy, cultural literacy. All of them important. And rightly so, as new kinds of learning are essential in our ever-evolving world.

As stated in the NCTE Definitions of 21 Century Literacies: “Literacy has always been a collection of cultural and communicative practices shared among members of particular groups. As society and technology change, so does literacy.”

This blog continues to emphasize that earlyreadingsuccessmatters. It is reassuring to see the words read and write included in Mozilla’s Web Literacy . Yet where and when does learning to read and write fit in today’s ever-evolving world?

Some use “Traditional Literacy” as a term for learning to read and write.  This makes me think of “traditional” styles of teaching, many of which we do not wish to hang onto. Every child in a classroom reading and writing the very same thing, not having any choice or individuality, being criticized for making errors (the red pen), “grill and kill” skill work, packets of  busy work… the list goes on. Many of us may have learned to read and write in this traditional sense, but others certainly didn’t want to read and write much beyond the school walls. Teaching and learning have changed (along with society and technology), so must our terminology about literacy.

To ensure earlyreadingsuccessmatters, and will still matter in today’s modern world, I suggest the term Foundational Language Literacy.  It includes a collection of early learning language experiences and opportunities, that start at birth, and are essential for our children’s success and happiness in life.


As we continue to expand upon multiple literacies needed in today’s changing world, let’s ensure the starting years of literacy learning remain significant.

I am a Foundational Language Literacy teacher. What kind of literacy do you teach?


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