The socio-educational context of literacy accomplishment in disadvantaged schools: Lessons for reading in the early primary school years

  • Elizabeth J Pretorius Department of Linguistics, University of South Africa
  • Myrna P Machet Department of Information Science, University of South Africa
Keywords: reading, literacy assessment, assessment standards, socio-educational context of literacy


Literacy does not develop in a vacuum. Reading is taught and is learnt within a social context, and the school and teachers are a central part of this context. This context will affect the way learners acquire literacy as well as the consequences of their literacy accomplishments within the learning environment. This article presents findings from a study that assessed Grade 1 learners' literacy accomplishments and examined the school literacy context as well as the literacy practices and perceptions of teachers in a primary school. The findings are discussed in relation to the broader school literacy environment and the learners' literacy achievements. The findings indicate that the acquisition of literacy skills is the product of a set of socio-educational circumstances that translate themselves into specific literacy environments for learners. The article concludes by identifying some implications that follow from the findings.

Key Words: reading; literacy assessment; assessment standards; socio-educational context of literacy

Journal for Language Teaching Vol.38(1) 2004: 45-62

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0259-9570