Connecting Literacy and Popular Culture: Annotated Bibliography

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What are the key arguments for integrating popular culture in literacy education? What issues does this integration raise for literacy education?

Children today are growing up in a digital world where their surrounding environments are rich with popular culture, leading teachers to reconsider and respond to new pedagogies for teaching literacy in the classroom (Beavis, 2012; Hall, 2011; Petrone, 2013; Walsh, 2010).

Literacy in the 21st century is multidimensional with Giroux arguing “Teaching and learning the culture of the book is no longer the staple of what it means to be literate” (Arthur, 2001, p.183).

Literacy is used for many purposes across a range of socio-cultural contexts bringing meaning to texts, words and images (ACARA, 2011; Fellowes & Oakley, 2010). Socio-cultural theorist Vygotsky highlights the role of socio-cultural contexts and interactions in children’s learning, stating that children learn literacy through every day social interactions in which they take part such as, viewing and critiquing television programs, playing video games, playing sport and going shopping (Arthur, 2001; Christie, Enz, Vukelich & Roskos, 2013; Hill, 2012). Through these interactions children are developing a wide range of skills, knowledge and understanding from the surrounding popular culture that embraces their interests, while also promoting engagement in areas of literacy such as reading, talking, writing and responding to texts. (Beavis, 2012; Hall, 2011; Lotherington, 2003; Walsh, 2010).

Research studies have found that popular culture can and has been successfully and effectively used in schools, giving diverse classrooms more opportunities to engage in critical thinking through common understandings and connections...

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... to the shift in contemporary communication and learning contexts. Walsh presents data taken from 16 teachers across 9 primary school classrooms on developing new ways of incorporating technology for literacy learning with evidence presenting that teachers can combine both print-based and digital communications technology across numerous curriculum areas to inform and support literacy development. This article is useful for my topic as it examines and explains the need and relevance to combining print and digital text into literacy learning and how this can improve children’s engagement and literary understandings. This article is implemented within my research paper as it provides meaning as to why educators need to rethink their pedagogies to inform the literacy that is needed in contemporary times for reading, writing, viewing and responding to multimodal texts.

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