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ERIC Number: ED547389
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Dec
Pages: 39
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 0-9689593-3-4
Cognitive Tools and the Acquisition of Literacy. Working Paper No. 5
Egan, Kieran
Centre for Literacy of Quebec
This is the fifth paper published by The Centre for Literacy in its Working Papers on Literacy series, which presents new perspectives on literacy-related topics relevant to researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers. This paper was adapted from a longer manuscript submitted by Kieran Egan in 1999 for the UNESCO Award for Research in Adult Literacy. In this paper, Professor Egan applies a cross-disciplinary frame of reference to the question of literacy acquisition. His thesis is that the understanding of the world and the acquisition of literacy are shaped by a set of cognitive capacities or "tools" that are present in oral cultures and expand in the early stages of literacy. He suggests that many of these tools, including story, metaphor, jokes and humour, association, and more, could and should shape literacy teaching to both children and adults. He challenges the current focus on functional literacy and takes us back to pre-history and early Greek times to demonstrate the potential of drawing on the cognitive tools shared by participants in oral and literate cultures. (A bibliography is included.)
Centre for Literacy of Quebec. 2100 Marlowe Avenue Suite 236, Montreal, QC H4A 3L5, Canada. Tel: 514-798-5601; Fax: 514-798-5602; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Centre for Literacy of Quebec (Canada)