THE FOUR ROLES OF THE LITERATE LEARNER

 Back in the day, teachers had a very different idea of what constituted a good reader. Students who were believed to be good readers were actually good decoders (Keene & Zimmerman, 2013). Later, comprehension was added to the profile of what constituted a good reader and the belief developed that comprehension trumped code breaking. In the 21st Century, after thirty years of extensive research into the cognitive strategies that expert readers use, and the complex demands on the reader, a more comprehensive profile has emerged, not of the good reader, but what now has been identified as the Literate Learner. According to Literacy For Learning: The Report of the Expert Panel on Literacy in Grades 4-6 (Ontario Ministry of Ed.), “Literacy in the twenty-first century involves not a single skill, but a complex interaction of skills and resources that the literate learner draws upon to make meaning from texts of many types.” p9. The four roles model offered by Freebody & Luke (1990) explains the complex processes that are essential for a reader to be fully proficient.

 

1. Code User

Recognizes and uses the features and structures of written, visual, and spoken texts, including the alphabet, sounds in words, spelling, conventions, sentence structure, text organization, graphics and other visuals to break the “code” of text

2. Meaning Maker

 

Uses prior knowledge and experience to construct and communicate meaning when reading, writing, and speaking

 

3. Text User

 Understands that purpose and audience help to determine the way a text is structured, the tone, the degree of formality, and the sequence of components, and uses this knowledge to read, write, and speak

4. Text Analyser

 Understands that texts are not neutral, they represent particular views and perspectives, that other views and perspectives may be missing, and that the design and messages of texts can be critiqued and alternatives considered

Adapted from: The Report of the Expert Panel on Literacy in Grades 4-6 (Ontario Ministry of Ed.)

 

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