“The National Center for Educational Statistics defines literacy as the ability to use printed information to function in society, increase knowledge and achieve goals” (Sessoms 2013). Who can really summarize how and what Americans know? How much information can we retain?
Literacy, another name for “reading”, is a most common skill among Americans in the working class. It gives you a step higher than most people who do not have literacy skills. In my opinion, literacy also goes along with multitasking. We need literacy in order to function at work and/or school. A great example is the ability to read an email, or the ability to read a letter from an employer/employee.
Nowadays, technology has risen steadily in the past decade. With that saying, employers have a great use for employees with literacy skills on the computer. The ability to read and type fast. Moreover, I think literacy is a skill that everyone needs. Almost everything is an item to be read. Almost everything has instructions on how to do this or how to not do this. I think it is a really important skill to touch on.
Sessoms, Gail. (2013). Effects of illiteracy on business. Chron. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/effects-illiteracy-business-22898.html
One thought on “Blog #4: To read or not to read”
Thanks for your blog post.
Is Literacy just another name for reading? The definition you’ve listed in the beginning gave me the notion of something much more. Interested and quite disturbed by the proposal that literacy is synonymous with reading, I went in search of another definition. Here is one of many that I found after an abundance of google searches that align more with what i got when i read Sessom’s definition:
“Literacy is more than just reading and writing. It is learning to read and write in order to make sense of the world in which we live. ”
This quote was made by a fifth/sixth grade teacher, Ms. Joanne Toft, through her personal exploration of the topic.
Ms. Toft was entertaining practicum students who were observing her teaching methods through her classroom instruction, when she was bothered by the term “Literacy”. After seeing that her practicum students wanted a concrete, text-based explanation of literacy she went on a similar Google quest in order to better explain her take on literacy.
Literacy isn’t merely the ability to read or write, but that next big step that hopefully follows that: comprehending and using those skills and abilities to adequately perform real life functions.
The best way that i look at this is a time were you read something very ambiguous and know what it really means. You are able to read yes, but because you are literate in societal norms, expectations, conventions, etc. you know what they mean or the spirit or gist of how exactly you are expected to respond.
When i was preparing to become an educator, we had an exercise were we had to explain a very minimal, everyday task to a young child. A popular one was to explain how to tie a shoe. No matter how clear, extensive, or precise you try to be there will always be some extent to where the child must pick up off the subtle suggestions and meanings that words or symbols alone do not exhibit. This to me illustrates literacy. Being able to use known meanings to function and complete a task is a subtle, yet very complex process. “Connecting the dots” shows literacy, not just the sheer ability to call out words and associate meaning with them. This is why a lack of this ability can prove to be so detrimental.
Teacher Joanne Toft’s article: