This handbook marks the transformation of the topic of literacy from the narrower concerns with learning to read and write to an interdisciplinary enquiry into the various roles of writing and reading in the full range of social and psychological functions in both modern and developing societies. It does so by exploring the nature and development of writing systems, the relations between speech and writing, the history of the social uses of writing, the evolution of conventions of reading, the social and developmental dimensions of acquiring literate competencies, and, more generally, the conceptual and cognitive dimensions of literacy as a set of social practices. Contributors to the volume are leading scholars drawn from such disciplines as linguistics, literature, history, anthropology, psychology, the neurosciences, cultural psychology, and education.
David R. Olson is University Professor Emeritus of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto. He has written extensively on language, literacy, and cognition, including the widely anthologized article 'From Utterance to Text: The Bias of Language in Speech and Writing' (1977). His book The World on Paper (Cambridge University Press, 1994) has been translated into several languages. He is co-editor with Nancy Torrance of The Handbook of Education and Human Development (1996), co-editor with Michael Cole of Technology, Literacy and the Evolution of Society: Implications of the Work of Jack Goody (2006), co-editor with Janet Astington and Paul Harris of Developing Theories of Mind (Cambridge University Press, 1988), co-editor with Nancy Torrance of Literacy and Orality (Cambridge University Press, 1991), and co-editor with Nancy Torrance and Angela Hildyard of Literacy, Language and Learning (Cambridge University Press, 1985). His most recent authored book is Psychological Theory and Educational Reform: How School Remakes Mind and Society (Cambridge University Press, 2003). Nancy Torrance has worked as a Senior Research Officer/Research Associate in the Centre for Applied Cognitive Science and the International Centre for Educational Change at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. She has worked extensively with David Olson on a theory of the social development of literacy and the acquisition of literacy in young children and with Lorna Earl on the evaluation of school reform efforts in Manitoba, Ontario, and England. She is co-editor with David Olson of several volumes, including On the Making of Literate Societies: Literacy and Social Development (2001), The Handbook of Education and Human Development: New Models of Learning, Teaching and Schooling (1996), Literacy and Orality (Cambridge University Press, 1991), and, with David Olson and Angela Hildyard, Literacy, Language and Learning (Cambridge University Press, 1985).