The Core Literacy Constructs and Their Impacts


The core literacy constructs are essential for a teacher’s understanding of developing a child’s ability and desire to read. There are several constructs that a teacher must be aware of and study thoroughly. These constructs include print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics, spelling, handwriting, vocabulary, word recognition, morphology, fluency, comprehension, syntax, and composition. It is necessary to understand what they represent and their meaning for other literacy skills development and the development of reading abilities in general to comprehend the factors behind children’s literacy.

The Core Literacy Constructs

To undergo full literacy development, one must develop literacy constructs. Print concepts refer to distinguishing between letters and words, directionality, and punctuation. Phonological awareness represents a child’s ability to work with sounds in speech. Phonics is an auditory method of teaching children reading and writing, and it requires teaching to identify different sounds of a language with correlating letters of the alphabet (Mesmer, 2019). Learning how to spell is to learn how words are written properly. Handwriting refers to forming letters by hand, and this process begins before school with scribbling.

Vocabulary is built through the practice of speech and writing by often unconscious linking between words and concepts. Word recognition represents one’s ability to read words automatically and correctly. Morphology studies meaningful elements of language and how they are combined to form words. Fluency refers to one’s ability to read quickly, accurately, and with the right intonation. Comprehension means one’s ability to understand and interpret the reading material. The syntax is a concept that rules the arrangement of sentences and clauses, and it concerns the roles that words and phrases play in a sentence. Composition refers to a student’s decisions made regarding their writing to achieve certain goals and requirements (Mesmer, 2019). Each of these constructs is highly important for the development of a well-rounded ability to read and write.

The Impacts of Literacy Constructs

Literacy constructs have a different but powerful influence on the development of other literacy skills and reading development as a whole. Print concepts, for example, nurture reading comprehension and the growth of a child’s vocabulary. Phonological awareness begins before school, and it helps children to decipher, blend, and finally read words. Phonics involves teaching children how to hear, recognize, and use sounds of a language, which develops their reading-aloud skills. Practicing spelling allows children to understand and recognize patterns in words and therefore be able to read more fluently. The act of handwriting promotes the activation of reading circuits which helps to establish better literacy skills (Mesmer, 2019). Vocabulary ensures understanding of words and concepts that these words represent, and it establishes efficient communication and reading comprehension.

Well-developed word recognition leads to adept reading comprehension and quicker adoption of new information. Morphology allows children to learn about relationships among words, which includes the way they sound and the way they are spelled. It makes a significant contribution to vocabulary growth and reading comprehension. The importance of fluency lies in motivation for reading as well as the development of expressive and smooth speech patterns. Comprehension is a skill that allows readers to make conclusions regarding the material that they read, which in turn makes reading appear more engaging and motivates them to read more. The syntax is important for understanding meaning within and among phrases and sentences. It influences reading comprehension since as children use more complex structures, their ability to understand them in written form grows as well. Practice in a composition further develops such skills as spelling and fluency, as well as encourages them to broaden their vocabulary (Mesmer, 2019). The significance of the impacts that these constructs have cannot be overlooked, and teachers must use various efficient methods and techniques to promote and assess their development.

Literacy Development Assessment

When developing any skill, it is highly important to have a certain method of assessment for said skill. These methods can include formal and informal assessments, where formal assessments mean some sort of standardized procedure with the same scoring system for all students. Informal assessments involve adjusting the format to a specific student, for example, how it is carried out, the scoring system, and the interpretation (Hougen & Smartt, 2020). It can be observing a child’s level of engagement or asking them to write down any information they have learned that interests them.

It is highly important to set realistic and relevant goals after having assessed a child’s level of literacy. For example, the information load cannot be overbearing for a child, and to lighten the work, a teacher can implement play and learning strategies (Genishi & Dyson, 2009). One of them is Sharing Time, which works excellently with foreign and immigrant children and parents since it involves sharing their cultural knowledge (Protacio & Edwards, 2015). This technique can be used as an assessment method since it is possible to see a child’s progress during their presentations.


In conclusion, the core literacy constructs are various dimensions of literacy development that are essential to one’s ability to read and comprehend. It is clear that these constructs are interdependent, and the development of each of the benefits from one another. To develop these skills, a teacher must assess them, set up appropriate and not overbearing goals, as well as suggest culturally beneficial learning strategies.


Genishi, C., & Dyson, A. H. (2009). Play, story, and imagination. NY: Teachers College Press

Hougen, M.C. & Smartt, S.M. (2020). Fundamentals of literacy instruction & assessment: Pre-K-6 (2nd Ed.). Brookes Publishing Co.

Mesmer, H. A. (2019). Letter lessons and first words: Phonics foundations that work. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Protacio, M. S., & Edwards, P. A. (2015). Restructuring sharing time for English learners and their parents. The Reading Teacher, 68(6), 413–421.

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ChalkyPapers. "The Core Literacy Constructs and Their Impacts." April 15, 2023.