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Literacy skills are skills that enable the children in learning how to read and write. It is a continuous process that commences with the ability to understand both written and spoken words. For this to be achieved should be acquired, enhanced and put in practice for a child to acquire reading and writing skills (Cohen). Therefore, this essay will focus on these important skills that need to be acquired and how they have been applied in the case study. The study is based on three narratives. The essay will focus on the literacy skills present in the case study. Therefore the essay seeks to answer the following question:
What are the most crucial components in the development of effective literacy skills?
The most crucial components in the development of effective literacy skills include the acquisition of numerous vocabularies. This involves mastering as many words as possible and the leaner’s ability to use them appropriately. In the case study of the “narrative of life by Fredrick Douglas an American slave” we find this component applied. For instance, Douglas after learning the basics of how to read, he uncontrollably read and read and this habit contributed to his great acquisition of vocabularies despite the fact the mistress no longer encouraged him to read or even access reading materials as he narrates saying “….in teaching me the alphabet, had given me the ~inch,~ and no precaution could prevent me from taking the ~ell.”
Phonological awareness is another crucial component in acquiring reading and writing skills. Phonological awareness is the process of constructing grammatical structures by alphabets and their sounds to develop words and build the reading skills. For instance, in the case study of the “narrative of life by Fredrick Douglas an American slave” it is stated that the slave learnt names of words, meaning he learnt how to construct words using sounds. Another application of this skill is found in the case study of the narrative of “A room of one’s own by Virginia Woolf.” We find the writer saying “The birds that sang in the hedge were not more musical than she was. She had the quickest fancy like her brother’s (Shakespeare) for the tune of words.” This indicates that she could naturally learn how to pronounce words correctly. The narrator refers to her as being musical meaning that she must have been fluent in her pronunciations and this is yet another crucial component in the literacy skills.
Thirdly, another crucial component is the narrative skills. This is the ability to express one’s self through story telling. This is an important feature evident throughout all the case studies. For instance the slave in the case study of the “narrative of life by Fredrick Douglas an American slave” narrates his own experiences in a logical manner. The case applies to the narrator in the case study of “A room of one’s own by Virginia Woolf.”
Letter knowledge is another crucial skill in learning how to read and write. It is the ability to master the alphabets, pronounce and know how to use them. This skill has been applied in the case study of the “narrative of life by Fredrick Douglas an American slave” where the slave says that the mistress taught him. In addition, he learnt the letters from his age mates. He also say that he could write the alphabets he leant at Durgins and Bailey’s shipyard through seeing ship carpenters making marks on timber.
Print awareness is another crucial skill used in understanding how to read and write. It involves scribbling on materials in a bid practice how to write. In the narratives, Douglas says “during this time my copy was the board fence, brick wall and pavements; and my pen and ink was a lump of chalk. In addition, the narrator, in the case studies of “A room of one’s own by Virginia Woolf.” Says that “she scribbled some pages up in an apple loft on the sly…” this clearly shows how print awareness may assist a learner in acquiring reading and writing skills.
Finally print motivation is another important skill in learning how to read and write. Print motivation involves the interest that is gradually developed after acquiring the basic phonological skills. When a learner is able to join letters using sounds he/she develops a reading culture. In all the case studies the characters involved uncontrollably develop a zeal for reading any literature they come across even though this behavior encounters resistance from their masters.
The ability to read and write should be acquired by applying literacy skills. The learner should be able to combine most or all the skills. To begin, the most crucial skills includes acquisition of vocabularies, being fluent in pronunciations, building reading interest, print awareness, developing narrative skills through reading, being able to identify and use letters and phonological awareness. If a learner could acquire all these skills among others, he then will not encounter problems when reading and writing. Therefore this essay sought to identify the crucial components necessary in developing reading and writing skills and in this case literacy skills.
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