Why literacies in the plural form? There is no one form of literacy that is right or legitimate. Literacies cannot be limited to a single definition nor can literacies be viewed as a simple dichotomy between being literate and illiterate. Furthermore, literacies and education do not always correlate; a highly literate person can certainly be one who has not completed high school and vice versa. Or a person can be literate and/or educated in any one language but not another. For most people, a simple definition of literacy is usually thought of as a basic and functional ability to read and write proficiently, fluently, and effectively. States have underlying definitions of literacies in standardized tests or benchmark levels for each grade, and some states even specify reading skills for third grade reading laws. A definition of literacies might include competence or knowledge about a specific field, such as workplace, academic, cultural, media, computer, or disciplinary literacy. Conversations about literacies can be approached from personal, psychological, social, educational, technological, racial, and historical perspectives. Literacies are social constructs in which people of all ages have different literacies they make use of in association with different domains of life. Restorative literacies recognize the interrelationship between literacies, language, linguistics, culture, identity, economics, race, schooling, and power. As a result, children should be seen as striving and thriving readers and writers as rather than being described in emotionally loaded terms, such as a low reader, learning disabled, dyslexic, or reading disordered.
A tenet of restorative literacies is the recognition that reading and writing are complex processes. Reading and writing are not “instinctive” like oral language, but that it must be taught and practiced in a manner that is responsive and restorative. Restorative literacies are not prescriptive nor dogmatic to a particular program or model. The basic premise of restorative literacies is how we learn with our readers, not teach to or provide for our readers. It is an open-minded participatory learning process for all. Both supporting the cognitive processes of reading and writing and embracing the social views of literacies occur in restorative literacies. Restorative literacies require parents, caregivers, mentors, and educators to be incredibly reflective of the ethnocentrism and diversity surrounding them in order to build a village of learners of literacies.
Services in Restorative Literacies are to provide confidential short-term coaching, consults, and support to parents, caregivers, mentors, educators, or any member of our children’s village. Restorative Literacies does not provide assessments (but will review and discuss assessment scores and reports if desired), prescriptive reading programs, or tutoring services. The menu of coaching services in Restorative Literacies are guidelines for conversations about healthy development in literacies. Coaching services can be adapted or customized as needed.