Concepts of Reading and Writing

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (1998) describes the concepts of reading and writing that children learn to master in their literacy development:

"Reading research of the last 20 years has shown that children must develop an understanding of concepts that underlie the act of reading and writing before they learn to read and write. For example, they must learn that written speech represents one's thoughts. Reading and writing are used for the purpose of communicating something meaningful, and there is a difference between 'book language' and everyday colloquial speech. A printed message is constant and is read the same way each time. A book contains print and pictures, but the print is the major source of information. Children have to learn the major conventions of reading and writing (reading from left to right and top to bottom, treating spaces as dividers between words, and pausing at the punctuation marks). These are just some of the underlying concepts that must be mastered as children learn to read and write."

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