Literacy development begins in the first three years of life and is closely linked to a child’s earliest experiences with books and stories”. The interactions that young children have with such literacy materials as books, paper, and crayons and with the adults in their lives are the building blocks for language, reading and writing development. In order for a person to build on a child’s literacy skills; it is imperative that he or she have thorough knowledge of literacy theories and the theorists behind these theories.
Theories are very important to the classroom it helps the teacher to understand why children do or do not acquire certain skills, identify what is needed to design an effective intervention strategy; and to execute successful teaching strategies. Literacy skills are extremely important and relevant to a child’s overall development; hence theorists have theorists their own reason for saying so. I must say that I am in agreement with a few of these theories. These include the interactive learning theory and the socio- linguistic theory of learning.
Firstly, the interactive learning theory is a theory postulated by Marie Clay and Remunerate in the year 1977. This theory revolves around what readers do while reading; children notice the individual letters on the page while grouping them into words thus, creating meaning in the brain. According to clay “Learning is a process of interaction between what is known and what is to be learnt”. It has become quite clear that, in order to do any real learning, students have to draw upon knowledge they already have about a subject or concept.
The more they know about the subject or concept, the more likely it is that they shall learn any given piece of knowledge. “Learning which does not make connections with prior knowledge is learning at the level of rote only, and is soon forgotten once deliberate attempts to remember it have stopped”. The interactive approach to learning places emphasis upon the ways in which prior knowledge is structured in the learner’s mind and in which it is activated during learning. Rinehart, 1980), suggest that learning depends, firstly, upon the requisite prior knowledge being in the mind of the learner and, secondly, upon it being brought to the forefront of the learner’s mind. Therefore this theory is not only relevant to the grade one classroom; it belongs there because it provides a basis upon which students will become fluent readers, develop better comprehension skills and become fluent readers . This theory takes young children through a step-by-step process of reading; from reading letters on a page to making meaning of a text.
Helping grade one students to gradually move through the reading stages will develop better literacy skills. The theory focuses on the role of the reader’s schema and the importance of the print on the page. Word, sentence, and text meaning are conditioned, influenced, or shaped by the whole set of experiences and knowledge the reader brings to reading, rather than the meaning ‘Jumping off the page into the reader’s head based on a word for word representation of text (Fletcher, 2010).
The impact that this theory has on the tuned or student’s literacy skills development is that the theory provides teacher with a guide to help children develop better comprehension skills. Based on how the child interacts with the text will tell the teacher or adult if the child comprehends want en or seen Is reading. By examining winner a reader pauses, re-area or SKIP Is likely to tell the teacher about the comprehension processes that are taking place internally. Using this theory in the classroom will impact the way in which students make meaning of what they read therefore developing a successful and fluent reader.