History and Future of Literacy
It is easy to think of the literacy which is taught in education today as the only kind of literacy there could be. Yet the literacy we see now is only one point in a line of development with a long past and an unknown future. The aim of this chapter is to reflect upon some aspects of the history of literacy and to imagine possibilities for its future. An historical perspective enables us to see taken-for-granted features of written language in a new light. It enables us to examine the claims often heard that literacy brings about economic progress, a higher level of cultural development or political change. Although it is hard to discern how literacy in education may change in the future, it is necessary to be open to the inevitability of there being changes of some kind.