What I believe literacy is and why it is important
Before coming to the faculty of education, I would have defined literacy as reading, writing and speaking. Now as a future teacher and someone who has been in the faculty of education for two years, I would say that literacy and the importance of literacy is much broader. Literacy is important because it is the base of so many important things in a person’s life. For example, music is filled with literacy whether it is in the lyrics, reading a sheet of music, definitions associated with music and so much more. I also think that literacy is so important because it touches every aspect of society and it helps us make sense of the world. Authors Winch et al. (2014), further prove this point by stating that literacy is “not only the basic view of literacy as the ability to read and write but also what are termed social literacy, critical literacy, mathematical literacy, cultural literacy and technological literacy” (p. XXXIII). Overall, I think literacy is important because it is not just about the ability to read and write, it is about self-esteem, empowerment and the tools to be literate for the rest of a person’s life.
My vision for a literacy-rich classroom and how it will affect my teaching practices
Because literacy is so important in a student’s life, I need to ensure that I provide my future students with a literacy rich classroom in order for them to have personal growth with literacy. For me, a literary-rich classroom means that students are comfortable exploring language, reading, and writing. I believe this would differ depending on the level of the class you are teaching. In a kindergarten class, literacy could look something like learning the alphabet or writing your name for the first time. As a future educator wanting to focus on Middle years, I know literary is a more complex idea. Literacy in a middle years class could look something like being introduced to Shakespeare for the first time or being introduced to a second language for the first time, like how we introduce French into the classroom around grade four to eight in Saskatchewan. Knowing the importance of literacy, my teaching practices I bring into my classroom may shift to include all different forms of literacy tools. For example, I am planning to include bell work in my teaching practices when I get into the classroom. With literacy in mind I can focus a different aspect of literacy with every bell work I do so all my students get comfortable with the parts of literacy in a quick, easy and fun way. Winch et al. (2014) states that “later years are just as important, as they lead to secondary school with its closer focus on separate subject areas and the literacy demands that this brings” (p. 218). In my later year’s classroom and with this in mind, I need to insure that I can provide my students with literacy tools so they can use these tools to develop vocabulary, connect and communicate to others, and use imagination and creativity to expand their knowledge on literacy topics.