Culture and Literacy

Literacy always occurs in a social context, which means that culture has a profound impact on literacy and the way it is learned and practiced. Literacy is best viewed not as a constant but as a particular set of activities, carried out in particular cultural settings for particular purposes. It is a cultural practice that takes different forms among different groups of people at various times and places.

To become literate, and to be viewed as proficient in literacy by insiders to a culture, an individual must go beyond learning a set of skills, such as those needed to decode words. In addition, the individual must learn an entire discourse, which includes the cultural knowledge required to use literacy appropriately in a range of settings. ...

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