The Crisis in Adolescent Literacy

analytical Essay
2250 words
2250 words

Finding a definition of literacy is not as easy as it sounds. The Webster definition says that to be literate is to be” able to read and write.” But to some researchers, this definition is too simplistic, leading to multiple models of literacy. Most Americans adhere to the autonomous model, which falls closest to the standard, dictionary definition. Believers in this form say that literacy is a cognitive activity that students learn like any other basic skill. It has a set of proficiencies that one must master in order to be capable of decoding and encoding text (Alvermann, 2009; SIL International, 1999). A competing theory is the ideological model, which claims literacy is intrinsically linked to culture, and therefore what constitutes a “literate” individual is ever-changing. Society is the largest influence on literacy, according to this thought, and it is affected by politics, religion, philosophy and more (Alvermann, 2009; SIL International, 1999). These two are just the tip of the iceberg. For example, some studies recognize “literacy as competence,” which is a “measure of competence to do a given task or work in a given field,” (SIL International, 1999) such as being computer literate. Although more researchers are recognizing and exploring multiple literacies, the one that most influences American schools is the autonomous, cognitive model – the ability to read and write. For many, it seems a simple task, but millions of adolescents are struggling or reluctant readers, and there are many reasons why young readers have difficulty with reading. XXXXXX------NEED HELP WITH THESIS STATEMENT HERE PLEASE—(This paper will focus on the effects of low reading skills, some of the possible causes of reluctant and struggling readership... ... middle of paper ... ... 2009). Many methods are available for a variety of different purposes. Conclusion With such high numbers of adolescents falling below basic in reading, illiteracy is a battle that must be fought head on. The largest dilemma with the struggle is the number of variations that cause adolescents to become reluctant, unmotivated or struggling readers. Fortunately, a large number of strategies exist to encourage and strengthen readers of all ages, proving that adolescence is not a time to give up on faltering students. Rather, it is a time to evaluate and intervene in an effort to turn a reluctant reader into an avid one (or near enough). Ultimately, educators must learn to properly assess a student’s strengths and weaknesses (Curtis, 2009) and pair them with the proper intervention techniques. If one method does not work, countless others exist to take its place.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the webster definition of literacy is too simplistic, leading to multiple models. the autonomous model is a cognitive activity that students learn like any other basic skill.
  • Explains that many young people experience an increase in demotivation during the move from primary school to middle school. teachers impose strict rules, assign boring books, talk all the time, give answers before a student finishes, and listen to all options.
  • Argues that illiteracy is a battle that must be fought head on. many strategies exist to encourage and strengthen readers of all ages.
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