Suggested Readings Organised By Literacy Topics


“From the child’s first, halting attempts to decipher letters, the experience of reading is not so much an end in itself as it is our best vehicle to a transformed mind, and literally and figuratively, to a changed brain.” (Wolf, 2008, p 18)

Literacy involves the ability to receive and express messages through a highly abstracted code that - on the surface - does not represent the language for which it stands. The code does not appear to represent language, but - to the literate individual - the code has the ability to take readers on amazing journeys, whether these journeys are those of the imagination or of the intellect or of both. The recommended readings should help you help others learn, express, explore, discover and challenge. Do not forget that literate individuals benefit from enabling relationships as well as access to adequate spaces, time, resources and formative experiences that aid and reinforce what it means to be literate. We hope visitors find useful readings that will help in the collective effort to teach and learn.

If you would like to suggest a reading to be added to a list, please do not hesitate to contact us. Please explore and enjoy! 

Elements of Literacy Instruction

The National Reading Panel cited five pillars to reading development: phonemic awareness, phonics instruction, vocabulary development, fluency practice and comprehension. To those five, we would like to add oral language development and writing (composing) skills. (See the linked essay for further discussion of a balanced approach to instruction.)

Stages of Development

In the words of Catherine Snow, “as children pass through successive stages of literacy, the reading and writing tasks change qualitatively and the instruction must change accordingly." Each of the lists below provides suggested readings that apply to a particular stage of teaching and learning. (See the linked essay and notes for further discussion of the stages of literacy development.)

Contexts of Literacy Learning

Literacy is developed across contexts. Learners benefit from the involvement of a range of players. Whilst individual classroom teachers play key roles, there is much to say about the impact of the home, broader community, and peers and mentors.

Focusing on Specific Ages/Groups

As mentioned above, literate individuals benefit from enabling relationships as well as access to adequate spaces, time, resources and formative experiences which are suitable to their various stages of development.

Fostering Knowledge & Purpose

Literacy is not an end in itself. It is medium through which we receive and expresses messages, we develop knowledge, we conceptualise, we take part in communities of practice, and we develop interests and pursue goals. 

Further Readings Which Exhibit a Wittgensteinian Perspective of Language, Literacy, Cultural Practices and Learning


Wolf, M. (2008). Proust and the squid: the story and science of the reading brain. Cambridge: Icon Books.