This chapter provides an overview of what literacy is and why it is important, along with some key questions designed to assess background knowledge related to literacy teaching and learning. At the end of the chapter, tips are provided to students and teacher educators for how to get the most from the textbook. A series of activities is also provided to deepen understanding of literacy and to facilitate planning for becoming an effective teacher of literacy.

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, readers will be able to

  1. discuss different ways to define literacy and other literacy-related terms, along with reasons why definitions have evolved;
  2. explain the role of literacy as a gateway to all learning and why strong literacy skills are essential for functioning in a contemporary, globalized society;
  3. discuss the scope of literacy knowledge prior to reading the rest of the textbook, and formulate a plan for how to add to what is known;
  4. summarize ways to use this textbook to gain knowledge about literacy teaching and learning.