Elements of Literacy Reading Response

If you type the word literacy into Google, you will get probably thousands of answers to what exactly might literacy be. When I think of literacy, I think of one’s ability to read and write. I have always known that terms, in this case literacy, can have many different meanings, but after reading “Elements of Literacy”, my perspectives have been changed. The reading offers a whole lot of information on not only the meanings of literacy but the definitions as well, the perceived uses of literacy, and the ways literacy is taught that lead to different ways of thinking. I was surprised at all the meanings and history behind the definitions and perceived uses of “literacy”. It turned my attention to the fact that literacy was paralleled with topics like religion, the economy, and logic. A specific thing that grabbed my attention was the connection between literacy and moral issues. “If literacy causes human thought and civilization to ‘advance,’ then is becomes and ethical imperative to spread literacy and foster these changes” (Elements of Literacy). This way of thinking lead people to believe that people who were illiterate were misfits who were “intellectually inferior, less humane, and uncivilized”. This was sadly not that shocking to me. In today’s culture, when one is different, they are looked down on and make outcasts. In today’s world, most children attend school and are taught the basic reading and writing skills. They are also given an outrageous amount of standardized tests due to the No Child Left Behind Act. This act makes sure that schools have a high rate of success and that each and every student passes with “proficient” testing levels. This affects literacy in more ways than we can think. It also illustrates “how deeply definitions of literacy are rooted in historical, political, and cultural contingencies”. Another thing that affects literacy is culture. Different cultures use different kind of literacies, which use different writing systems. These different writing systems correspond with different languages, which are learned using different techniques. This affects the way we view people because we judge them based on our own kinds of literacies and cultures. This being said, it is not fair to judge them on what they consider the “norms”. Elements of Literacy Reading Response 1 Notes

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