Eithne Kennedy, St. Patrick’s College,
Dublin Elizabeth Dunphy, St. Patrick’s College,
Dublin Bernadette Dwyer, St. Patrick’s College,
Dublin Geraldine Hayes, St. Patrick’s College,
Dublin Thérèse McPhillips, St. Patrick’s College,
Dublin Jackie Marsh, University of Sheffield, UK Maura O’Connor, St. Patrick’s College,
Dublin Gerry Shiel, Educational Research Centre, Dublin
It is important to consider definitions of literacy across the life span of the individual from ‘womb to tomb’ (Alexander, 1997). Definitions of literacy should encompass the cognitive, affective, socio-cultural, cultural-historical, creative and aesthetic dimensions.
Three important international assessment initiatives, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIACC) all emphasise constructivist interactive processes of reading, where readers actively construct meaning from text.They recognise the importance of literacy in empowering the individual to develop reflection, critique and empathy, leading to a sense of self-efficacy, identity and full participation in society.The PIRLS definition also refers to the development of a community of readers within schools, where social interactions around text encourage both the development of habits of mind (Brunner & Tally, 1999) and positive attitudes towards reading within the classroom learning ecology (Brown & Deavers, 1999; Luckin, 2008; Reinking & Bradley, 2000; Zhao & Frank, 2003).