1. Terminology


1.1 What does the word "literacy" mean?

1.2 Multiple literacies

1.3 Literacy, family literacy and multiple literacies

1.4 History of family literacy programs

1.5 Various definitions of family literacy

1.6 Characteristics of a family literacy intervention based on multiple literacies

1.7 Conclusion

It is important to consider and integrate Essential Skills not only into self-improvement courses, but educational curricula, skills-upgrading projects and on-the-job training. Today's knowledge-based society and dynamic workplaces demand continuous skills development. Learning methods that recognize the importance of Essential Skills help bridge the gap between job and life requirements and a person's existing knowledge and skills.

1.1 What does the word "literacy mean"?

The traditional French word for literacy is alphabétisation, which can connote a process of acquiring literacy but which has traditionally been restricted to mean learning to read and write. While alphabétisation is still the standard French term for "literacy" in lay speech, a new word, littératie, is being used more often. Littératie, coined from the English, was introduced into professional discourse on literacy research in French for the first time in 1985 (Giasson et al. in Pierre, 2003), and appeared later in scientific writings in 1991 (Pierre, 2003). Today, although the term littératie is the subject of debate in the family literacy community and in research circles, it is increasingly accepted and used in various fields - for example, in the school system, in adult education and in health care.

Littératie has a less restrictive meaning than the traditional term alphabétisation. Derived from alpha and
beta, the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alphabétisation refers to the processes by which knowledge of letters is taught and learned. According to Pierre (2003),the term also carries the implied and inaccurate - meaning that learning to read and write involves the initial teaching of the alphabet. Pierre argues that learning to read and write really begins long before the start of formal teaching in school and the decoding of the alphabet. In any case, the term alphabétisation connotes a process of acquiring literacy in the narrow sense of "reading and writing." For this reason, we will translate alphabetisation into English as "alphabetical literacy."