cally examine how various social, cultural, and contextual forces interact with neurocognitive processes to facilitate or constrain the development of literacy.
The major components of reading and writing are well documented. Depending on the assessed needs of the learner, instruction needs to target decoding and strategies for identifying unfamiliar words. Instruction should focus on depth, breadth, and flexibility of vocabulary knowledge and use. Learners also need strategies for comprehending and learning from text. Instruction should support the development of knowledge, including background, topic, and world knowledge. Learners also need metalinguistic knowledge (phonology, morphology) and discourse knowledge (genre and rhetorical structure). Metacognitive skills may need to be developed to facilitate comprehension and meet goals for reading.
Figure 2-1 shows the writing skills that may need to be targeted with instruction, among them sentence construction skills, planning and revising, spelling, and usage (capitalization and punctuation skills). As for reading, knowledge to develop for writing includes background, topic, and world knowledge as well as knowledge of the potential audiences for written products. Writing instruction, like reading instruction, needs to develop facility with writing for particular purposes, contexts, and content domains. Writing also requires mastery of tools required for writing (typing, word processing, and handwriting).
Literacy development, like the learning of any complex task, requires a range of explicit teaching and implicit learning guided by an expert. Explicit and systematic instruction is effective in developing the components of reading and writing and facilitating the integration and transfer of skills to new tasks and context. Full competence requires extensive practice with varied forms of text and tasks that demand different combinations of literate skill. It also requires learning how to use tools required in a society for producing and using text for communication, self-expression, and collaboration. Principles of effective reading and writing instruction are summarized in Boxes 2-2 and 2-4. Box 2-5 lists practices shown to be effective in the development of writing. Reading and writing involve many shared components and processes. Instruction that includes activities that capitalize on and make explicit the relations between reading and writing facilitates development of a better integrated and mutually reinforcing literacy system.
A sizeable literature on efficacious interventions for struggling learners points to additional principles for teaching reading and writing to this population that include (1) direct targeting of specific areas of difficulty in the context of explicit reading and writing instruction; (2) more intense instruction, more explicit instruction, and even more opportunities to practice; (3) direct targeting of the generalization and transfer of learning; (4)