What is the development of literacy the development of?

Glynda Hull and Elizabeth B. Moje

This paper highlights key findings of the socioculturally-focused “New Literacy studies” and argues that literacy practices derive their vitality from curricula and activities that connect to learners' backgrounds and cultures. The authors show how communities can capitalize on the social nature of learning to help young people experience literacy as purposeful and themselves as skillful and confident makers of meaning.

Three common themes found across successful learning experiences are:

  1. Building upon learners’ existing knowledge and cultural practices.
  2. Demystifying academic language and literacy.
  3. Situating literacy learning within a larger motivating activity and/or purpose.

5.Glynda Hull: New Literacies, the Common Core, and ELLs


Glynda Hull argues for a broad view of literacy, which changes rapidly with cultural shifts and new technologies. The Common Core is a hopeful moment for literacy instruction. However, we must also respect and build on the literacies students bring from their lives outside of school.

About the Authors