Lessons from Costa Rica and Chile for early literacy in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries

Authored by: Alejandra Meneses , Ana María Rodino , Susana Mendive

The Routledge International Handbook of early Literacy Education

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138787889
eBook ISBN: 9781315766027
Adobe ISBN: 9781317659204


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Over the last decade, Latin American countries have made a good deal of economic progress; nevertheless, widespread social inequality persists in the region (UNESCO, 2013). Therefore, one of the greatest challenges facing the region today is how to advance in both equity and quality of education. In this sense, the development of literacy skills is crucial to improving opportunities to learn for all students. In this chapter, we understand early literacy as the ‘set of skills, knowledge, and attitudes that are presumed to be developmental precursors to conventional forms of reading and writing’ (Whitehurst and Lonigan, 1998: 849). This multidimensional notion combines processes related to meaning, which refers to the extraction, construction or production of meaning through oral or written language (e.g. vocabulary, concepts about print, oral and writing production, and oral comprehension); and code, which refers to mastering the alphabetic principle and reading words (e.g. alphabetic knowledge, phonological awareness, knowledge of sentence structure and phoneme-grapheme correspondence) (Connor, 2011).

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