Learning to be Literate: Multilingual Perspectives

Author: Viv Edwards

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Hardback, Ebook(EPUB)
Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
245mm x 174mm

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This textbook brings together research on literacy and multilingualism from a variety of settings: the learning of English in migrant destinations, immersion and bilingual education, and the maintenance of heritage languages. Designed to be accessible to students from a wide range of disciplines, the book explores multilingualism as a global phenomenon at both the individual and societal level, and literacy learning in a wide variety of contexts. It uses both these discussions to explore the theoretical and policy issues which are behind current educational practice, and points to possible ways forward. Students are introduced to examples of innovative and best practice from a range of international contexts, and discussion points and suggested activities encourage them to build on their own experiences as language learners. This is an ideal introductory text for students on courses where a critical understanding of language in education is necessary, as well as being a useful summary of the field and its future directions for researchers, practitioners and policy makers.

What makes this book unique? Its simplicity and erudition, enabling readers to gain basic understandings of the power of literacy, while familiarizing them with an impressive array of multilingual contexts both globally and locally. Spanning literacy in multilingual families, communities and schools, the book blends the scholarship on literacy, multilingualism and multiliteracies, providing fresh perspectives of how to empower children, teachers, parents and communities in multilingual contexts.

This volume offers a comprehensive, accessible overview of bilingualism, biliteracy, and language education around the world with attention to the broad sweep and the defining details. Edwards skillfully joins research summary with case studies—stories that demonstrate the wide range of meanings and practices associated with reading, drawn from her own experience and scholarly pursuits. The book neither dwells on nor ignores the various 'wars' and disagreements in the field but rather sketches the contexts in which they arose, their theoretical bases, and implications for instruction. The book is well-suited for use as a textbook, with its list of key points at the end of each chapter and carefully chosen resources. But it also serves as a nicely readable overview for those who need an update.

This is a unique and exceptional book which will be invaluable for professionals working with bi-and multilingual children and their families in educational settings. The inclusion of activities and discussion points at the end of each chapter makes the book ideal for core reading at both undergraduate and postgraduate level as well as for professional development courses.

"Learning to be Literate" is a very accessible textbook that introduces its readers to issues of multilingualism, literacy education, and multilingual literacies from various perspectives. The author does not limit her coverage to multiliteracy in English-speaking countries, but instead draws on multilingual settings and case studies from all over the world. Primarily the book is intended to serve as an introductory text for courses on literacy education, aimed at undergraduates and postgraduate students from a wide range of disciplines. In addition, it provides an easy-to-read summary of the field of multilingual literacy education for practitioners, educators and policy makers.

Written Language & Literacy 15:1 (2012), 145-146

Viv Edwards is Professor of Language in Education at the University of Reading where she is also Director of the National Centre for Language and Literacy. She is editor of the international journal Language and Education and has researched and published widely in the areas of multilingualism and education. Her book on Multilingualism in the English-speaking World received the 2005 British Association for Applied Linguistics book award. She is also a fellow of the Royal Society for Arts.

1. Reading the word, reading the world

2. Multilingualism

3. Education in multilingual societies

4. Multiliteracies

5. The politics and practice of literacy teaching

6. Language, literacy and culture

7. Resources for learning

8. Making change in multilingual classrooms

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate, Text
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