Song: A Medium for Literacy Development

William T. Fagan


Literacy is sometimes narrowly defined as a level of reading and writing below which a certain percentage of the population falls. This is the interpretation based on literacy surveys. Literacy may also be defined from a broader contextual base and refer to a person's attitude towards, and use of reading and writing, language, and numeracy to bring meaning to, and make sense out of one's life. Courts (1991) argues for such a broad definition of literacy: "The word literacy, then suggests a state of being and a set of capabilities through which the literate individual is able to utilize the interior world of self to act upon and interact with
the exterior structures of the world around him/her in order to make sense of self and other" (p. 4) in order to construct his/her own reality. The person, not the task, becomes the focus of the literacy definition. Within this framework the purpose of this paper is to show that song is an effective medium for literacy development.

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