Once you master, though, it should be easy to decipher any piece of writing.
Literacy as practice
Of course we can interpret the marks written on a paper differently
The practice approach to literacy (also called the New Literacy Studies) suggests that literacy is a set of habitual behaviors (practices) exercised in specific cultural contexts and for specific reasons.
National Endowments of the Arts reported that only 52% of Americans read a book in 2004.
But the details tell us they asked about reading for pleasure
And they defined reading “literature’ as pleasurable reading and ignored other options
Literacy and Literacies 2
Are there benefits to literacy? Does it change the way you think and reason?
Autonomous theorists say ‘yes’. That literate people see themselves and the world differently than oral peoples
They argue that literacy is needed to think abstractly and critically!
We are going to challenge this one!!!
Literacy and orality
We will use the term orality to discuss the ability to hear and speak
Walter Ong (professor of English literature) saw differences between those who are ‘non- or pre-literate’ and those who are literate.
Obviously Western-biased, maybe even bigoted
See pp. 219-222 for examples that counter Ong’s ideas.
Literacy and Literacies 3
Literacy and permanence
Another suggested benefit of literacy is permanence
If something is written down it is there forever, in this view
This is a comment on the ‘lack of permanence’ of oral traditions
But, as anyone who has crashed their computer knows, permanence is not always a part of literacy!
Also, written documents can be changed/revised.
Spoken words are becoming more permanent with recordings and such
Photographic records can also act in place of written words (see the example called “Photographic Truths” on pp. 224-225).
Literacy and linguistic awareness
The civilizing effects of literacy have been linked only to alphabetic literacy and not to the other kinds of literacy we outlined earlier in this chapter.
Obviously wrong, but literacy can alter how we are aware of the elements of language as a consequence of how we represent them.
Literacy and Power 1
By now we are aware of the many ways to define literacy and the many ways to read and write.
The ethnography of reading
How these different literacies play out in different cultures is gaining the attention of researchers.
The ethnography of reading is inspired by Hymes ‘Ethnography of Speaking (Chapter 5)
Shirley Brice Health used Hymes model to develop the ethnography of reading.
She looked at literacy events: The occasions in which individuals attempt to read and/or write
She found that peoples in different communities approached the task of reading in different ways.
A complete discussion of her findings is on p. 214.
As we have seen certain kinds of literacy are rewarded and others are less acceptable. This statement reveals a power relationship with literacy
Issues of access: Who should read?
In the Middle Ages, it was appropriate for the elite to be illiterate; scribes did this work
There was a Turkish scriptal reform from 1928-1931 when the Arabic alphabet shifted to Roman.
One effect of this shift was a change in the number of literate persons
Due to required coursework, 75% of men and 43% of women were literate in the Roman script (as compared to the 9% in Arabic prior to the shift)
Ways of Reading, Ways of Writing
Is the new electronic communication changing the way we read?
It is blurring the line between written and spoken communications.
Writers use asterisks, capital letters and such to interject spoken intonation. (I learned this when I capitalized an announcement in my OL class, meaning to make it stand out, and learned I had shouted at everyone!)
The new abbreviations in electronic discussion boards are moving into speech (lol, for instance)
Linear versus Multimodal reading and writing
She is talking about whether you are a person who reads from start to finish (Linear) or one who bounces between tasks (Mulitmodal, or what I would call a multitasker)
Interestingly, she talks to the trouble multimodals have with the creation of outlines (which are linear)
She mentions a website I love: The Machine is Us/ing Us
Public versus Private reading and writing
Reading and writing are often thought of as a solitary activity
Public reading and writing are being developed
Blogs is one example, but look more like slowed-down conversation
An example of an attempt at communal writing shows that this type of writing is likely to be limited
Michael Stephens tried to write a book online and asked for feedback
In 2006, he retreated to his office to ‘digest’. Back to the solitary writing.
Wikipedia and other wiki’s
Here is an interesting site: How to be a model Wikipedia contributor