History and Evaluation of Writing
History of reading and writing is related to the history of language. People, in the beginning have noted the necessity for passing on accumulated knowledge from older generations to uniformed younger ones. But without language, and without reading and writing, adults could not convey their experiences; they could only speak of the present. They could transmit only that information within reach of their senses, only what could be demonstrated in front of the children. They could teach the use of various tools and how to hunt and gather, but not speak of folklore or past dangers. Without the means of encoding experiences and wisdom into symbols, the level of human knowledge would remain relatively flat, nothing comparable to what we recognize today as a human way of life.
Writing was started, after 30, 000 to 50, 000 years of spoken language in the form of nature and animal paintings from Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations (Powell, 2009). The earliest record of writings in Chinese language found in 1500 years B. C. This Pictographic writing evolved into Ideographic writing where symbols are used to represent a word or sound. This style of writing was started in near East, i. e Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, and Egyptians civilizations during the Bronze era, approximately in 2500 B. C. (Rogers, 2005). Egyptian sacred writing or hieroglyphic, which comprised of ideograms, phonograms, determinative symbols and meaning symbols, is considered as one of the best examples of ideographic writing (Powell, 2009).
The writing was further developed into Logographic style of writing. In this style, logograms are used as characters instead of words. Syllabaries were the system where syllables were used as the building blocks. This style of writing was adopted by the Greeks (Rogers, 2005).
As language started to shape into more modern form, alphabets took the place of symbols. Alphabets were the special symbols which gave special sound so the writer can also pronounce the written words. The evolution and changes in writing styles denoted the changes in the needs of human lives. A detailed and chronological study of writing styles provides a complete description of changing human needs over the passage of time.
History of Reading
Reading is a cognitive process in which reader decipher the symbols in order to extract some meaning (Bainbridge & Malicky, 2000). A symbol is a stimulus that represents something; it has no inherent meaning, so the meaning must be learned. The symbols we make when we write are incomprehensible for someone who has not learned the meanings we have arbitrarily attached to them. Written marks can be invested with symbolic meanings.
The history of reading is as old as history of writing. Although reading is now considered as the main source of getting knowledge but, in the beginning, the scenario was different. Very few people were acquainted with the art of reading and writing; however, classic Athens and Islamic Caliphate societies were the exceptions. Especially, the emergence of Maktab and Madarsa in Islamic Caliphate society played an important role in disseminating the knowledge about reading and writing (Edmund, 2009).