professornana (professornana) wrote,

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L is for Literacies

Yes, you read that correctly, LITERACIES, multiple literacy. A couple of things converged to inspired this post (and it seems as though there is so much buzzing around me these days that topics present themselves despite the fact that I have a running list of items I could write about given more time.

Item #1: One of my colleagues, Hannah Gerber, (@thewritegamer) is conducting a two day workshop at a local district using gaming as one way in to more literacy instruction. Here is her posting: I am completely revolutionizing staff development. Tomorrow kicks off the start of a 2 day workshop I'm leading on video games, learning, and literacy. Over 150 teachers have registered (eek) so I upped the ante and have turned it into an MMO (massively multiplayer online game) complete wth guild raids, quests, points, badges, Easter eggs, and leveling's running live. Camera crew set up cameras today. Join in the conversation and take part in the fun on Twitter #thewritegamer and if I get the URL where it'll stream I'll post that too. This will be the most fun you'll ever have in professional development:)

Item #2: A mention in my Twitter feed from @lbraun2000 about biliteracy. The link pointed me to an article about NY now declaring itself a biliterate state. It was referring to English and Spanish in this instance. California has already declared itself biliterate.

Item #3: At the San Angelo workshop last week, a participant admitted he cannot listen to audiobooks while driving. First attempt resulted in accident (minor, one vehicle).

Item #4: I sat in on a workshop at the USM literature conference in April with @misskubelik who was doing a session on Twitter and the library world. I was stunned at the number of folks in the audience who were NOT on Twitter yet.

Item #5: My colleague @kperry sent an email this morning with an app she has been developing for the smart phone and our department. Now our students can get information on their phones.

So, where is this leading? In the poast few years, the NEH released a study that asserted today's kids were not reading as much as their counterparts from a few years ago. I argue that these results are not as accurate as one might think because we are still defining reading as sitting with a book. Just looking at the foregoing examples should be proof enough that our definition of reading and literacy needs to keep shifting and changing. Kids are reading online, they are reading with their ears, they are reading with visuals and pictures instead of text. In other words, there are lots of ways to define reading and literacy.

And it is not enough for us to know ONE way to get to lifelong literacy, either. I think back to some of the students that I taught in middle school and wish I could wave a magic wand and go back in time and use audio and eBooks and other materials and forms and formats and tech to reach those for whom the traditional text was just not the right thing at the time. I want to open my own school (something @kbeers and I discussed ad infinitum years ago) and hire folks who are not afraid of trying new things (like those teachers in Hannah's workshop this week), of hanging out in online communities (there's that C word again), of being biliterate or multi-literate. But I know you are out there, my multi-literate friends. I connect with you on Twitter and Facebook and see you at ALA and NCTE.

So, I am once again preaching to the choir (can I get an AMEN?), but I hope you wonderfully talented choir members will use your talented voices to pass the message on to others. Let's see how many literacies we can improve in these waning days of summer.
Tags: literacy, reading, redefining terms
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