Re: [xmca] constraints, affordances and semiotic potentials

From: Gordon Wells (
Date: Sun Jan 22 2006 - 07:52:59 PST

>bb wrote
>In LSS Halliday has written:
>Consider the question of literacy, teaching
>reading and writing: what is learning to read
>and to write? Fundamentally it is an extension
>of the functional potential of language. Those
>children who donít learn to read and write, by
>and large, are children to whom [language]
>doesnít make sense; to whom the functional
>extension that these media provide has not been
>made clear, or does not match up with their own
>expectations of what languages is for. Hence if
>the child has not been oriented towards the
>types of meaning which the teachers sees as
>those which are proper to the writing system,
>then the learning of writing and reading would
>be out of context, because fundamentally, as in
>the history of the human race, reading and
>writing are an extension of the functions of
>language. This is what they must be for the
>child equally well. Here is just one instance of
>a perspective on language in the context of the
>educational system. (PG 57, LSS)

In this context it is very interesting to read
Karen Gallas's account of a child in her grade
one class who couldn't get the idea of listening
to a story read aloud, although he told stories
in oral interaction. She spent the whole year
trying to figure out what it was about his
experience that made it so difficult for him to
appreciate the functionality of written language
as a means of communication. (Gallas, Imagination
and Literacy, Teachers College Press, 2003)


Gordon Wells
Dept of Education,
UC Santa Cruz.
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