During the past decades, literacy has gradually become a major concern all over the world. Though there is a great diversity in both the distribution and degree of literacy in different countries, there has been an increasing awareness of the number of illiterates and the consequences of being illiterate. However, literacy is no longer seen as a universal trait. When one focuses on culturally-sensitive accounts of reading and writing practices, the concept of literacy as a single trait does not seem very feasible. A multiplicity of literacy practices can be distinguished which are related to specific cultural contexts and associated with relations of power and ideology. As such, literacy can be seen as a lifelong context-bound set of practices in which an individual's needs vary with time and place.
This volume explores the use of literacy outside the mainstream in different contexts throughout the world. It is divided into four sections. Section 1 presents an anthropological perspective--analyzing the society and the individual in a society. Section 2 presents a psychological perspective--focusing on the individuals themselves and analyzing the cognitive and affective development of young children as they acquire literacy in their first and second languages. Section 3 presents an educational perspective--highlighting the variations in educational approaches in different societies as well as the outcomes of these approaches. Section 4 summarizes the studies presented in this volume. Both theoretical issues and educational implications related to the development of literacy in two languages are discussed. An attempt is also made to open up new directions in the study of literacy development in multilingual contexts by bringing these various disciplinary perspectives together.
Table of Contents
Contents: L. Verhoeven, A.Y. Durgunoglu, Introduction: Perspectives on Literacy Development in Multilingual Contexts. Part I:Anthropological Perspective: The Individual and Society. S.M. Pugh, Minority L1 Literacy in Sweden and Karelia: Challenges and Strategies. V.J. Baker, Literacy in Developing Societies: Native Language Versus National Language Literacy. M. Martin-Jones, A. Bhatt, Literacies in the Lives of Young Gujarati-Speakers in Leicester. J. Hardman, Literacy and Bilingualism in a Cambodian Community in the USA. Part II:Psychological Perspective: The Development of the Individual. E. Geva, L. Wade-Woolley, Component Processes in Becoming English-Hebrew Biliterate. L. Verhoeven, R. Aarts, Attaining Functional Biliteracy in the Netherlands. A.Y. Durgunoglu.Acquiring Literacy in English and Spanish in the United States. A. Hvenekilde, Literacy Training for Linguistic Minorities in Norway. Part III:Educational Perspective: The Individual and Schooling. D.A. Wagner, Putting Second Language First: Language and Literacy Learning in Morocco. J.N. Jørgensen, B.S. Kristjánsdóttir, Acquisition of Literacy in Multilingual Contexts in Danish Schools. S. Boyd, G. Arvidsson, The Acquisition of Literacy by Immigrant Children in Sweden. I. Taylor, Learning to Read in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. I. Farah, Sabaq: Context of Learning Literacy for Girls in Rural Pakistan. L. Tolchinsky, Early Writing Acquisition in Catalan and Israeli Communities. A.Y. Durgunoglu, L. Verhoeven, Epilogue: Multilingualism and Literacy Development Across Different Cultures.
"...this volume is worth reading--it is well written...it is truly multicultural, and it addresses a range of contextual issues that inform how humans do and do not grapple with and balance conflicts between their respective home cultures and the dominant ones of which they are part."
—Studies in Second Language
"These well-documented, detailed studies are highly recommended for graduate students, researchers, and faculty."
"There are at least 46 countries where elementary-age children officially are instructed in more than one language. Yet, few of us look beyond our national boundaries to examine educational issues related to language minority groups. The editors of this volume have helped to address this void by bringing together an interesting array of studies on the literacy and language development of multilingual and bilingual learners in a range of international contexts....given the richness of the descriptive data and the scope of international settings, literacy Development in a Multilingual Context: Cross-Cultural Perspectives is a volume that educators, researchers, and policymakers interested in multilingualism, bilingualism, and second language issues in general, and biliteracy and second-language literacy in particular, should read."