Traditionally, mainstream handbooks and dictionary define literacy as a person's capability to read and write. As a way of incorporating the context, UNESCO defines literacy as the capacity to identify, deduce, create, comprehend, compute, and communicate with the use of written and printed materials related to different contexts. From the above definition, it is evident that literacy is a complex process. As a result, literacy is a process that develops in five stages.
Stage 1: Initial Reading, Writing, and Decoding
The first literacy phase typically occurs when the learner is between six and seven years old. At this phase, the child learns the relation between sounds and letters as well as between spoken words and print. The child can only comprehend simple texts containing words that are frequently used and that are phonically regular. At this level, children use insight and skills to "sound out" new vocabularies. In terms of reading, the child at this stage can move from free scribbling to controlled scribbling, and lastly, to nonphonetic letter strings (De Souza and Gilberto).
Stage 2: Confirmation and Fluency
The second literacy phase typically occurs takes place when the child is between seven and eight years old. The learner is able to read simple familiar selections and stories with increased fluency. Children at this stage can read because they decode essential elements, meaning context and sight vocabulary in reading familiar content. The learners reading skills can be improved through read-aloud guidance (Exley, Beryl, et al.).
Stage 3: Reading to Learn the New
The third phase takes place when the child is between nine and thirteen years old. At this period, learners use reading to gather information, learn new ideas, and learn new attitudes. At this stage, emphasis is placed on writing for different purposes and reading for learning purposes. Various literacy skills are balanced at this level. These skills include fluency, grammar, and spelling.
Stage 4: Synthesizing Information and Applying Multiple Perspective
The fourth phase takes place when the child is between is between 14 and 17 years old. At this stage, learners read widely from varied, complex materials, both narrative and expository, and able to apply different perspectives. Learners are expected to access, recall, analyze, and apply concepts and knowledge. Learners are consolidated general learning, writing, and reading strategies to develop a more complex disciplinary perspective and knowledge.
Stage 5: Critical Literacy in Work and Society
Stage 5 is the final phase that starts when the learner is over 17 years old. Reading is meant for the reader's purpose and needs. Reading intends to integrate the knowledge of the reader with those of others to synthesize information and generate new ideas or knowledge. Writing and reading are strategic, purposeful, often anchored, and specialized on a specific topic. At adulthood, literacy gets increasingly stratified because, at this stage, people's writing and reading habits are shaped by their cultural, educational, and vocational factors that often become diverse after school environment (Hobbs, and Renee).
From the above discussion, it is evident that literacy is a complex process that goes beyond reading and writing. At the earliest stage, reading and writing are meant to introduce learners accessing information while at the last stages, literacy serves a more advanced purpose in creating knowledge.
De Souza, Gilberto, et al. "Optimizing tasks generation for children in the early stages of literacy teaching: a study using bio-inspired metaheuristics." Soft Computing 22.20 (2018): 6811-6824. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00500-018-3409-1
Exley, Beryl, et al. "Surveying the field: Preservice primary teachers' conceptions of their literacy capabilities." Practical Literacy: The Early and Primary Years 23.1 (2018): 42-45. https://eprints.qut.edu.au/115749/
Hobbs, Renee. "Expanding the concept of literacy." Media Literacy Around the World. Routledge, 2018. 163-183. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781351292924/chapters/10.4324/9781351292924-7
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