Literacy and Reading in Childhood and Beyond

  • Priti Joshi
  • Subir Shukla


Reading, and more importantly taking pleasure in reading, clearly lays the foundation for different aspects of a child’s future development. Literacy is a multidimensional process, often involving ‘complex social practice’ in which the reader has to play an active role in connecting symbols with experience in order to create meaning. A mechanistic approach that underplays the meaning-making essence of reading can lead to children losing interest. The chapter describes the process by which children learn language and reading, especially in a multilingual context such as India. The elements of an ideal situation to foster love of reading include a print-rich environment, a family where everyone reads, and integrating reading in play and real-life routines, though these are hard to achieve. Exposure to books from an early age does help. In middle childhood and adolescence, it is important to ensure time for reading and also continue engaging with the child around reading. Growing up in a family with limited access to books does disadvantage a child when it comes to reading – however, families could be well supported to engage in alternative practices around narration. Interest-based (rather than need-based) engagement with reading can help children with disabilities too. While reading skills are seen as enabling success in content-based examinations, reading generates a host of abilities that support education during the school years and beyond. Choosing appropriate reading material for different ages require us to set aside adult notions and look at the qualities of books from the child’s perspective. Parents could also take a nuanced approach to their children’s use of digital devices for reading and learning – passive and excessive use of technology has adverse consequences. A vision for the future includes commitment to developing a culture of reading by enhancing access and creating opportunities for schools, families and communities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Priti Joshi
    • 1
  • Subir Shukla
    • 2
  1. 1.Lady Irwin CollegeUniversity of DelhiNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Group IgnusNew DelhiIndia

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