In the section “The Way Literacy Stratifies,” I was frequently reminded of a method I used in my school-age daycare class. With a class of 30+, and one me, I frequently had to find activities that students could do alone or in small groups, and because I advocate literacy, which for me is reading and writing but with the ability to help others understand what the individual takes from the reading, reading was a common activity. Sometimes we would read a book as a group and discuss it, even things like the pokey puppy or other lower level books can get kids thinking; sometimes, we would read individually, and I’d ask kids to explain the story to me and answer my questions. It worked well and my kids would like telling me about what they read. The main thing about their reading was I brought, or bought, items that they were interested in. One boy was having trouble reading in school, so I bought him a big, thick book on trains, which he loved. His mother told me he was stuck in that book, reading and asking questions about some of the terms or maintenance ideas it expressed that he was not familiar with. I donated all of my old videogame magazines to the class and boys and girls alike read them and looked at the editors’ evaluations of the games and agreed/ disagreed. I would always make them tell me why they agreed/ disagreed. So, for me this “separation” of literacies really is a continuum. You work from one to another and sometimes back depending on what you need.
I again connected with the reading in the section of videogame literacy. There is a lot to be learned about critical thinking and societies from videogames. They are cognitive goldmines. They are also literacy goldmines. If you can get a person to apply the same critical thinking skill they engage in in a videogame to real life, or the academy, you will find amazing results. For instance, in WoW? (World of Warcraft), there are there are 10 classes and 10 (I think) races, each combination produces similar results but are dependent upon the gamer for the success of the gamer’s goals, which vary. This is strikingly similar to the genres of literature and the process of writing/reading. If you can get the student to realize these similarities, the game becomes a scaffold for learning the new forms/process. This is what I like about TAMUCC’s current literacy and discourse community curriculum; it does this by making connections with students’ preferences. I also saw the connection between Klosterman, in “Learning Vernacular Literacies,” and many people who believe that somehow the process is different when you think critically about “Academic” subjects. Critically judging your skill in the game, finding literature that discusses improvement (from several sources so you must judge which source is a better choice), and applying the information to improve your game play to accomplish a task set by the guild sounds eerily similar to writing an academic paper. It is creating the connection so the student sees them is the difficult part. That is why I like this pedagogy of rhetorical dexterity; it seems to work towards this issue, while keeping in mind the realistic constraints of the academy and curriculum. While critical literacy can be co-opted to dominant ideologies, as Carter fears, the adaptation with situated literacies and her pedagogy seems to try to be versatile enough to work around these issues and within the reality of the dominant system, until changes can be made.