Literacy is thought to be one of the primary cultural transmitters of information and beliefs within any society where it exists. Yet, when considered as a social phenomenon, literacy is remarkably difficult to define, because its functions, meanings, and methods of learning vary from one cultural group to the next. This book compares and contrasts our understanding of literacy and its acquisition and retention. It addresses major debates in education policy today, such as the importance of "mother-tongue" literacy programs, the notion of literacy "relapse," and the concept of educational poverty. The author focuses on Moroccan children whose parents are unschooled, whose language is often different from that used in the classroom, and whose first instruction often involves rote religious instruction.
• Daniel Wagner has extensive experience in national and international education issues, including, working as an advisor to the US Department of Education, USAID, UNICEF, UNESCO and the World Bank • Wide interdisciplinary appeal
Preface; 1. Domains, questions and directions; 2. Language and literacy in Morocco; 3. The cultural context of schooling; 4. Doing fieldwork in Morocco; 5. Learning to read in Arabic; 6. Social factors in literacy acquisition; 7. Beliefs and literacy; 8. Learning to read in a second language and second literacy; 9. Functional literacy: school learning and everyday skills; 10. School dropout and literacy retention: out of school, out of mind? 11. Literacy and poverty; 12. Linking research and policy; 13. Becoming literate: concluding thoughts; Photo-essay on literacy in Morocco; References; Appendices.