Literacy is not a single entity that can be taught to every individual in one manner, it is a different attribute for everyone, and in order to master how we teach literacy, we have to find out how to adapt to these differences. To go along with this, there are different forms of literacy like adult/youth literacy. When it comes to these classifications, adult literacy is in the forefront and youth literacy has been left in the shadows, although is has been proven in research that literacy is most important in our younger years. It is even theorized by some that literacy learning ends in childhood, only to be repeated in later years, although “as young people venture into secondary schools and into a globalized, complex world (Moje),” I agree we must take a look into the literacies we need to build upon in later years, because we never stop learning.
Gandhi was quotes to have said “live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.” I feel like this is almost a motto to live by. We as humans never stop learning, adapting, and discovering throughout our lives, but if we don’t have strong foundations, we can’t continue our practices, so both adult and youth literacy should be equally dominant in teaching. Another flaw about how we teach youth literacy is that many teachers make assumptions that parents have given their children literacy foundations at home, or that the children have picked them up in daily life, but this is again where the differences and adaptations in learning come to play.
I feel that the most important aspect in teaching youth literacy should be concerning culture and context because in today’s world of such a diverse population, we must be accepting and teach others to be accepting of different cultures and viewpoints as they pertain to daily life and literacy. I feel that in early education, we must show our students what some of these cultural differences are so they can find multiple perspectives or approaches to learning the same parts of literacy. To go along with different cultures and their context in literacy, we must also understand different approaches and tools used in literacy, such as the medium involved and or the classroom setting. Very often, literacy is pertaining to print and written works, but with technological advancements in the classrooms, much more teaching has turned digital and will have students using visuals as their main source for literacy. With this being the case, many children may miss out on reading actual books at a young age now, so we must be able to teach them reading not only in hard copies of works, but also in the digital copies, and we can show them tools such as online dictionaries and similar outlets to help them enhance their literacy.
Every aspect I’ve touched on incorporates adaptation to factors about the students, and that adaptation and differences are good. I also feel we as educators should show children that these differences are actually good, rather than allowing them to have the mindset or approach that if someone struggles, they should be looked down upon. Rather, we should encourage a healthy learning environment where students build their literacies upon one another, and even more-so in those who lack the resources out of school. Literacy doesn’t just come into reading and writing, but also the thought processes involved in any decision, and if we teach children how to help improve literacies of other children in their classrooms, they are being given one on one experiences, which are proven in research to be more effective. Youth literacy should become the forefront because we look to have an educated future, and we can’t attain that without starting somewhere and progressing to our end goal.