Second Language Reading Acquisition

Authored by: Ludo Verhoeven

Handbook of Reading Research

Print publication date:  October  2010
Online publication date:  March  2011

Print ISBN: 9780805853421
eBook ISBN: 9780203840412
Adobe ISBN: 9781136891427

10.4324/9780203840412.ch27

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Abstract

Literacy is a lifelong, context-bound set of practices that can vary with time, place, and an individual’s needs. One can thus speak of multiple literacies and the importance of language policies that foster cultural diversity. Research has also shown the functional literacy practices via which individuals are socialized into various institutions to vary widely. Functional literacy involves not only the ability to read and write but also the ability to cope with everyday life literacy situations. Functional literacy thus encompasses both literacy conventions and cultural knowledge, which are interrelated. Literacy conventions refer to—among other things—the types of documents that are used in societal institutions such as forms, letters, legal texts, political tracts, religious texts, novels, and poems. The reading of a particular type of document often requires specialized knowledge of that type of document format. Different types of documents, moreover, may call upon different types of cultural background knowledge as well as different values and beliefs.

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