The importance of alphabetization in primary school

“As for the access of children to the written language, does it start on the day and at the time adults decide?”

From the studies we conducted, we have come to the conclusion that no, it doesn’t. We can say that children are introduced to the written text before they even start school. Although they don’t do it in a conventional way, they start building significant meanings, hypotheses and predictions in their real-life situations.

“It is exactly this type of information that is not transmitted in the beginning of school training. This is the type of knowledge that children already possess, if they have been raised by literate adults.”

This knowledge is the basis on which school should start its training.

The next question is: what do we do? Should we ignore all this knowledge and start from zero in primary school? We introduce the children to reading and writing as a preparation for a later stage? Or we just teach them to read and write?

We are convinced that, from our position as teachers, we cannot ignore what children know (although we admit that the information is very diverse), and we must make this the starting point in our teaching. Neither do we claim that children should be able to read and write before leaving kindergarten. Our objective is to establish in primary school the idea of a teaching practice in which the early systematic participation of children in relevant reading and writing situations happens on a daily basis.

This way, they get accustomed to the use and requirements of the written language, although they still can’t read and write well.

“The particular function of primary school is that of having children approach the written culture early in life, with the aim of creating a space in which they will become literate in relation to the knowledge about the reading and writing processes and the social functions of the written language. It is much more important to understand how to read and write and what texts are spread in the society, than to complete the official process of alphabetization in the system.”