A Change in Literacy
“Literacy—the ability to access, evaluate, and integrate information from a wide range of textual sources—is a prerequisite not only for individual educational success but for upward mobility both socially and economically,” states Sean Reardon (18). Literacy plays a significant role in civilized society. As Reardon mentioned, literacy is an important part of social and economic progression; therefore, it is unsurprising that thousands of dollars are poured into the education system each year to ensure that students can be considered literate. Reardon continues on to claim, “by third grade virtually all students can “read” in the procedural sense—they can sound out words and recognize simple words in context” (20). However,
At least 40 million American adults need stronger literacy skills to take advantage of more lifelong learning opportunities (Knowles 12). Low literacy limits life chances, regardless of how it is defined or measured. According to The Random House Dictionary literacy is defined as “the quality or state of being literate, esp. the ability to read and write.” Another breakdown of the word, from the same source is “possession of education.” Basic skills and literacy abilities are widely viewed as necessities for lifelong learning and the development of success among individuals, families, communities, and even nations. Better knowledge about literacy is an essential condition for improving it. Helping children improve their literacy skills can help them develop the capacity for lifelong learning, keep pace with changing educational expectations and rapid technological change, and achieve their life goals. Today in society there are many adults with poor literacy skills who lack the foundation they need to find and keep decent jobs, to support their children’s education and help them mold a literate future. I have taken one small step towards this problem by tutoring at two schools. The more time people put towards helping the youth of America is the more literate our population can become. Every small action can help, even if it is just tutoring at local middle and junior high schools.
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 Across Content Areas
In our schools today, literacy should not just be a task for the English or Reading teacher. Instead, literacy should be a shared venture by all teachers within all content areas. Teaching literacy in all content areas is important because a teacher with a solid understanding of teaching literacy in his/her content area will tremendously help all students achieve greater success on class assignments and standardized assessments. There are three main points that surround the idea of teaching literacy in all content areas.
Susan B. Neuman, a renowned faculty member at the Center for Improvement of Early Reading Achievement at the University of Michigan, states that the single biggest barrier to literacy development in the United States and beyond is access to books and educational material. “If we can solve the problem of access, we will be well on the road to realizing educational parity – a goal which has eluded the country for generations” (Book Trust, n.d.). Although this is a factor in the scheme of illiteracy, it is not necessarily the most important one. Research...
Rich, Motoko. "The Future of Reading - Literacy Debate - Online, R U Really Reading? - Series - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. The New York Times, 27 July 2008. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. .
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...
Gomez, L. M., & Gomez, K. (2007). Reading for learning: Literacy supports for 21st-century work. Phi
In “The Closing of the American Book,” published in the New York Times Magazine, Andrew Solomon argues about how the decline of literary reading is a crisis in national health, politics, and education. Solomon relates the decline of reading with the rise of electronic media. He believes that watching television and sitting in front of a computer or a video screen instead of reading can cause the human brain to turn off, and lead to loneliness and depression. He also argues that with the decrease of reading rates, there will no longer be weapons against “absolutism” and “terrorism,” leading to the United States political failure in these battles. The last point Solomon makes is that there is no purpose behind America being one of the most literate societies in history if people eradicate this literacy, and so he encourages everyone to help the society by increasing reading rates and making it a “mainstay of community.” Solomon tries to show the importance of reading in brain development and he encourages people to read more by emphasizing the crisis and dangers behind the declination of reading.
The term “literacy” can be defined in several ways. Dictionary.com simply states it as the ability to read and write, or the possession of education, knowledge in a specific subject or field. My definition of literacy, particularly pertaining to this essay, is the latter. My knowledge of diversity has always been quite limited, due to the fact that I grew up in a small town, village rather, not commonly found on any map of Ohio. During my first year of college here at the University of Cincinnati, I became very aware of just how diverse I was previously, and have accepted going away to be a full learning experience.