John L. - Final Reading Response

Carter is surprised that a student who self-studies computers (Branch) achieves more in economic terms than one who studies Spanish (Lopez)? Really? It doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that one field is highly competitive and requires immense training and intelligence in a field that surpasses national/cultural boundaries? And the other doesn't? I agree with Carter that students from middle/upper class families will have better access to such literacies than those from the lower classes. But Carter wants to have her cake and eat it too. She wants to say that learning less economically prosperous literacies (such as Spanish) is equal to learning more prosperous ones (such as computers). She then wants to claim that its wrong that different literacies are valued differently. Either money is important or it isn't.

Second, to misquote Susan Jacoby, playing videogames teaches people the valuable skill of playing videogames. As someone who has played thousands of hours of videogames, and as someone who knows people who have played hundreds of thousands of hours of videogames, I know that they aren’t the mental stimulator Carter pretends. I understand her point that students have to be reached, and that reading Faulkner to 9th graders isn't the best way to do that. But teachers can't dumb themselves down in an effort to reach students, and using videogames to teach English is doing that. There is a different between diversions and literacy – and Carter doesn't seem to realize that. The difference is usefulness. Watching television and playing videogames are diversions because they serve no useful purpose beyond themselves. I can't muster sympathy for those (like her brother Eric) who think they're literate and deserve a better position in life because they can play Quake II, Raaku-Tu, etc. really well. “Traditional literacy” didn't fail Eric. He failed himself.

If I am understanding Carter correctly, she is arguing that students (for a variety of reasons) cannot, on the whole, be reached using traditional literacy models. Therefore, to avoid leaving some students behind, those models must be scrapped (to a large extent, at least) in favor of those things students are interested in, like comic books, videogames, music, Star Trek, etc. And she's right, in a sense. No one will be left behind if we end the race for literacy at the starting line. However, there will always be a cadre of students who learn traditional literacy, learn to write for professional audiences, and who are able to read and understand good literature. Those students will remain on the top of the economic ladder, and those students who literacies are the ability to play first-person shooters and discuss Star Trek will be left at the bottom. If those are the extent of a student's education then composition has no purpose. I can understand the intricacies of Grand Theft Auto without a teacher's help.

Despite what Carter writes, there is a difference between tailoring a course to maximize student interest and stating that a course has no value because it doesn't interest students enough.

In summation, to quote the only dystopian novel that ever came true: "With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkeres, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it de-served to be . . . We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against."

Or better: "Out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery; there's your intellectual pattern for the past five centuries or so."

Or best: “School is shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually gradually neglected, finally almost ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work. Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts?”

Teachers like Carter shouldn't be greasing the gears of illiteracy.



Edith

I think Carter really looks at the variety of literacies in an attempt to make the argument that everyone is literate in one way or another, which she states in the end. However, and this is not to argue or claim that anyone who does not have a college degree is less of a success, but the examples she gives about her brother, the successful computer programmer and that of video games, plus the student who is trying to learn Spanish compared to the student who has access to “literacy opportunities” (82) doesn’t convince me that she actually has an argument on “the way literacy lives.” Yes, I believe that those in the academia are familiar that there are many ways in which literacy lives, but how and what one students accesses it can make a life of difference. I claim this because, as we discussed in class, many of us know of someone who is now successful, financially, without a college education. Those people have demonstrated that they have used their strengths and applied them in a way to support themselves and their families. It is so different to compare someone that has learned, in college, about writing to make an argument or writing to support an argument. This point leads me to the students who gave feedback on their writing experiences, many realized much later, after writing in different genres that there is a point to writing. All I could hear were the complaints, and as we also mentioned in class, standardized testing is not the best form of testing a student’s intelligence, rather it is a way to, at least, and have some set of regulations. I could not even begin to compose such a test because so much has to be considered, but that’s a different point. As for the students’ experiences with writing, I was glad that at least a few saw the point I was trying to make earlier and that is writing comes in many shapes and forms and we can not believe that there is a “perfect” one for many reasons. As for now, Carter basically provided more examples, or encompassed many of the discussions and readings for the semester. I wonder if that is the reason why we read it at the very end. On the other hand, I could be completely wrong and this posting is a complete mess. Oh well I’ve written it and I am not deleting it. It is the last posting, yes, it excites me!


Joanna's Response

Ok, so I think I took the book a bit differently than John. I don't really think Carter is suggesting that traditional literacies be "scrapped," but that we grab the students' attention and use their own literacies that they are experts of to teach them what it means to be literate. Kind of like learning about discourse communities or different genres. It's about being able to discover what "rules" or "conventions" there are to be an expert in a certain literaccy (or DC, or genre, whichever you're focusing on) in order to learn how to become an expert in other literacies/dc/genre (rhetorical dexterity).

The way I see it, Carter is pushing that we learn the values of both schooled and unschooled literacies, aiming more for that "well-rounded" ideal. Carter comes to the conclusion, though, that the argument about which literacies are "more intellectually viable"? is "moot" because of how basic writers are defined by the institution; in other words, it doesn't really matter what we think, we just have to deal with the cold, hard facts.

But--and what I like most--is that she upon the ideas of Adler-Kassner and Harrington from BW as a Political Act to show students how (in the words of Adler-Kassner and Harrington) "their myriad of experiences with language (in and out of school) are connected to writing" (qtd. on 151). She pushes, in the end, for the idea that everyone is literate in some way and that we, as teachers and scholars, should validate the students' multiple literacies so as not to label students "Basic writers" and demean whatever knowledge or literacies they bring to the classroom.

To me, this all ties back to Shaughnessy's Errors and Expectations, especially of her goal to keep teachers from thinking it is a deficiency of the students that causes them to do poorly in academic writing. Rhetorical dexterity seems like one way to validate the students rather than look down on them as someone we need to "fix" and, instead, view them as someone who has an individual set of skills that teachers can analyze and learn from. Rather than the teachers being the ones with the answers, the answers can come from a dialogue between teachers and students, with both coming to the classroom at an equal level and willing to learn from each other.


CHRISTINE CASHION

The way literacy stratifies is not to quote a 13-year old TASP study (61). Ha! I get it that Carter does not like “educational standardization” (61) but going up against the second biggest state in the United States standards for placement may not yield many results other that what she keeps saying – start the conversation about testing/placement alternatives. Granted there has been an “upsurge” (61) of first generation college students, somebody is either getting smarter or more ambitious. Which is it? In either case, there has to be a system of testing for college-level placement. Should there not be?

There are some who say NO TESTING. What do they propose otherwise? Carter talks about all of these people who have these interesting literacies as trekkies, auto mechanics, IT techs, etc. and this is all great that these subgroups of people have found niches for themselves without education (higher) and a place to frame their GED’s. Nothing will ever take the place of higher education because without it, we would not have attorneys (major life-changing legal precedences) and doctors (life-saving procedures), along with the many occupations that require institutional education.

I entered college pre-TASP in 1988. I took an ACT to start college. My choice was either ACT or SAT. I was thankful for a Texas standardized test because I believe that national standardized exams are more challenging. I did not have to take TASP until I wanted to be a teacher in 1992. I am glad the TASP has been replaced with THEA. Some people never take an ACT or SAT in Texas. They stick with THEA or test out completely with TAAS scores to go to college. If you speak of specifically the writing part on the TAAS and it’s “Disney” writing topics, I guess you could complain but at least the testers are writing. Texas just may never have the resources (money and people) to test people culturally, civically, etc. – all the ways Carter talks about – as a way to get accepted into college.

Out-of-school literacies fantastically have their place because we need people who want to develop specialties in their area, even if they don’t have an education. My mom is a caterer and has been for 30 years. She could talk circles about the topic around me with my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. I can barely hold a conversation on the topic and I don’t care to. She probably does not care to analyze literature like I do either. Who cares? To each, his own. Maybe this is somewhat where Carter is coming from. Each person develops their own community literacy depending on their environment and upbringing. Where is the place for this in the classroom? Well, it may come up in writing classes and speeches when students are required to take communication (English and speech) classes when the instructor is nice enough to allow the student to choose their own topic. Culture therefore is not completely excluded.

Learning is sometimes a “portable skills set” (66) because of standardized testing. If you want to get through the system, you have to play the game, so to speak. Learn your skill set and pass the grades. By the same token, there is someplace in the system for vernacular literacies that Carter discusses – reading comprehension tests context. You have to read between the lines to answer the questions – not all the answers are stated in the passages. I believe this is somewhat a stretch of critical thinking.

Some people just don’t like school and they struggle with it. That’s okay. “Traditional literacy” (79) may fail some people but you can still find a job. There is a great need for vocational occupations, including medical. What would we do without these people who don’t want a Bachelor’s degree or higher ed with the type of professional job that may go with them? Del Mar College, for example, has 2 campuses – one is vocational, one academic, if you will. They are both equally populated with its 12,000 a year student enrollment. Point: I want someone to fix my air conditioner and I don’t care if they have a degree to do it. However, I would never trade my degrees though. Education is something no one can ever take away.

As far as autonomous versus rhetorical dexterity, I am all for redefining literacy as “socially sanctioned” and “people-centered” (95) with rhetorical dexterity but I do not think autonomous literacy is “harmful” (95). Carter says the goal of literacy instruction is “making certain we all share as much content knowledge as possible” (97). I think there is a place for both autonomous and rhetorical dexterity within her goal of literacy instruction.


Holly C.

As the previous chapters of The Way Literacy Lives indicated, being a basic writer does not mean that a student is illiterate. Instead, it simply means that this student is not able to speak the language of the academy. In some ways, I believe every individual to be somewhat illiterate and somewhat a basic writer. For example, I am very literate in writing and I generally have been since high school, but I was illiterate in math to the point that I had to have remediation. Even now I am not 100% in math, so, in that sense, I will always be a basic writer.

The most unfortunate thing I see in a student being classified as a basic writer is the stigma that is associated with this label. Given the fact that adult basic writers are simply “students whose cultural values and routines differ from the…norms” (64), it is unfortunate that this is somehow twisted into the student lacking something that will make them a real college student. It’s like they are made to be impostors simply because they cannot speak the language. Ironically, it is my opinion that we are all impostors. The only difference being that some of us learn to speak the language for whatever reason and some of us don’t.

The author’s discussion of her brother and the problems he had when he entered the Texas school system were interesting. Though she never quite came out and said it, it appeared to be that she was specifically indicting the Texas Public School system for being unable to serve him simply because he 1. had a learning disability and 2. was interested in something that, even in today’s Texas Public School system (at least my limited view of it) is still considered to be an elective type subject. Her brother enjoyed and was very interested in computers. He was and still is highly literate in computers. I am not sure of what the exact solution would have been for educating her brother, but I will propose that a student that has trouble finding interest in a standards based classroom might have trouble when he has no interest.

The Sim analogy that the author made was very interesting, but I am not sure if I really grasped it. What it sounds like the author is saying is that, in the video game, the Sim is only learning to function within the realm of that one place. In the real world, a human being must function and be literate in many realms. A person writing for academic purpose may not see that learning o write for that academic purpose functions for anything outside of school because they are writing within the confine of the academy. They see no point in learning the skill because the only thing they see that it is good for is getting out of school. In short, they see the skill as pointless, just as some people see no point in a game like the Sims (especially the early version where the Sim never ages or dies unless they electrocute, starve, or burn themselves up).


Darcy Lewis

I think that Carter made some interesting points in the last half of the book. She veered off tangentially in a few places, but I felt like there was purpose to it. When she talks about her brother’s problems, I suspect that those with no background or exposure to learning disabilities might be tempted to be dismissive or to feel that she’s railing against the Texas public schools and ignoring her brother’s responsibility or contribution to the problem. I also understand the skepticism at the whole “video game literacy” tangent that she goes down, and I remain dubious about implementing video games into the writing classroom.

However, having lived with a dyslexic myself who went through a remarkably similar experience (and yes, in the Texas public schools), I think she’s spot on in her assessment that people like Eric are overlooked and forced into a mode that does not work for them, and I sincerely doubt that this is isolated to Texas. I won’t bore with the specifics of my own dyslexic’s experience, but I do believe that the square pegs who have to approach learning from a different “angle,” so to speak, are left in the dust in public school. Overall, I think this is Carter’s point when she’s talking about the different literacies that are not acknowledged or given credit because they fall outside of the academic construct of the ways “good writing” and “good literacy” are defined. It all comes down to being self-reflexive about the contexts in which literacy or writing is implemented, being very clear about audience and purpose. I do not think we need to delegitimize arenas such as FAQs?, message boards, or even texting, but to understand that you can’t write “btw ur rprt otw, jtlyk” to your boss or (as tempting as it sometimes is) to write “WTF?” in an academic essay.

I think that Carter’s idea of rhetorical dexterity extends to the multifarious ways in which people learn. Not everyone has the same ability to process and digest information, and those who are nontraditional in their learning approaches have to get really creative just to get by. Generally speaking, this means that what they get out of public school is more along the lines of coping strategies for mainstream literacy rather than learning how to adapt their own form of and approach to literacy. When a student’s focus is on trying to conform to an approach that just doesn’t make sense to her, there is less opportunity for her to develop the critical thinking skills and the application of those skills to writing—it becomes all about blending in, flying under the radar, and acquiescing to conventionality and mainstream processes.

I like John’s invocation of F451, but I use it to make a different point, which is that our current model is indeed turning out more “runners, jumpers, racers…grabbers” than “examiners, critics…and imaginative creators” for the very reason that we are not doing enough to stimulate and prepare the highly creative minds of people with unorthodox or fringe learning processes. We are indeed trying to make everyone equal, as Bradbury’s quote says, but in a way that limits via this one idea of literacy and learning rather than one that embraces diverse approaches and processes. Addressing this inequity and giving every learner the platform to think critically and articulate the product of that critical thinking is the way we make the “mountains” from which to “judge [ourselves] against.”


Sean

The reason literacy practices are valued unequally seems to be one of the most important examinations in this book. When we begin to relegate studies that are "less profitable" to secondary status, we perpetuate the kind of atmosphere of knowledge that creates situations like our current Free Trade Agreements, in which cultural practices are ignored in favor of the almighty dollar. Money is important, but only in the context that it supports the cultural differences that inform our many societies and communities. If we begin to focus on the more economically viable literacies (which, as a criterion, is really just a reflection of the arbitrariness of the global economy in relation to commonly irresponsible consumerist practices and policies), we run the risk of creating the same kind of autonomous literacy based on technical acumen that Carter demonstrates is already an unsuccessful model in terms of academic writing. In order to develop the kind of self-reflective tolerance that higher level education should first and foremost develop, we cannot elevate one kind of literacy over another based on monetary viability.

The reason we should be focusing on incorporation of video games, sports, and auto mechanics into our writing practices is not because we should hope that learning about these things will make our students more useful to society, but that by utilizing their interest in them, we can help demonstrate the ways in which they have already learned literacy practices through them and then apply that meta-knowledge to the contexts that will benefit them academically. By doing this, I think that Carter (and others, like Gail Hawisher and Cynthia Selfe, who have done studies on video game literacies also) wants to bridge the gap between literacy that is only applicable in academic contexts and literacies that are only applicable to personal hobbies or endeavors. By making these connections, we can allow students to continue learning from the things that have sparked their intellect already and, simultaneously, see the kinds of things that we academics often unconsciously and inappropriately attribute solely to the Western canon of literature, or whatever medium we consider the forum for our studies.

There is no greater injustice, in my opinion, than to ignore the environment from which our students come to us from in favor of an academic mold that some will fit into and some will not. Although Carter seems to conclude, a bit negatively, that "basic writing teachers and tutors (and our students) have little choice but to comply" to the current standards of academia, I see in this book some useful practices that can resist those pressures and work to develop a balance between the rigors of standardization and the utility of culturally- and community-based writing skills. :)


Liza

I agree with Joanna, Sean, and Carter’s conclusion (from Addler-Kassnor and Harrington), “Our goals should be to challenge the conceptions of literacy, to provide more and better opportunities for students (and teachers) to use literacy in ways that engage their worlds” (147). In my experience, a nice mix of “literacy practices” in the classroom helps students become more receptive. I would like to look at the aforementioned quote in terms of the opportunities that it provides to teachers.

Yes, we allow students to build on their knowledge when we open the door to what might be considered unconventional classroom literacy. However, we are also opening new doors for ourselves as teachers. If we keep insisting on doing the same things repeatedly because “that is what has always been done” aren’t we churning out the same boring results? Students are just doing what is required of them but are not really “getting” anything out of the course. (Why do I suddenly hear Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” playing in my head???) When we relinquish some control of “the structure,” we engage students and they are more accepting of other ideas we bring into the classroom. For someone who has never been in the classroom, it might be easy to think that you can force students to do whatever you want – YOU CAN’T. Why would you want to? As Sean said, we do not want to ignore our students. It takes a lot of work but you have to find ways to engage the students while still doing your job - teaching them and helping them with their writing. You can manipulate almost any writing prompt to fit their interests.

Most importantly, you need to remember that not everything you do is going to work for every student (because not every student walks into your class with the same literacy, skills, needs, etc.) so you have to be the one to make adjustments or at least learn to compromise.


James

The last part of this book examines multiple literacies as a way to teach textual literacy, and I think you could really take this largely in one of two ways.

One is to say, "Video games and other forms of entertainment and pop culture are just that and provide no avenue into reading and writing critically in the academy," but another is to say that those things can lead one to learn how to be better thinkers and writers.

I count myself with the latter group, even though I honestly don't know how anyone learns anything from video games besides hand-eye coordination. It may not make much sense to someone who has not taught or taken classes in education, but it makes a great deal of sense after you do those things and understand the diversity of learners and learning styles. I have long since dismissed the notion of "Because I learn best this way, everyone learns best this way" because I have had to teach things to students who don't learn things simply because they read them (like I do). Some of my students had to see pictures or films (visual), some of them had to listen to music (aural), some of them had to get up and walk around (kinesthetic), some had to socialize (interpersonal), some had to reflect (intrapersonal), etc. I had students with various impairments who needed specific modifications to learn. The point is, they all had to learn the same things, but they all had to learn them in their own ways in order for the objectives to stick so they could pull it out at crunch time (in this case the TAKS test). If I had tried to simply teach my students literacy the way I had learned it, I would have been lucky to have my percentages at half of what they were. I knew this would be the case before the end of the first week of school. So, I used a lot of very nontraditional methods to teach very traditional subject matter.

The most interesting thing I am thinking about with this reading even with the somewhat negative tone at the end about being stuck doing things the way they are dictated to us by the powers-that-be is that we are all currently on a road, albeit very likely a long one, to being those powers. When we have the power to change the system to one that is more just, will we? Or will we just continue the same system that knowingly empowers some and marginalizes others simply because it is more convenient and economical to do so?

It will be very interesting to see what happens in this field, in the world of education, and in the world in general with the impending empowerment of our generation.


Andrea M

Well, because I do not have this book I didn't get the read the first half, I feel i don't fully understand what Carter is trying to get at. But, Dr. Murphy was nice enough to let me borrow her copy so here's what I got out of the second half of it:

One of the concepts I found interesting was the idea of productive literacy in chapter four. Carter mentions that she wants students to gain productive literacy rather than accessible literacy because it gives them the "ability to function within a chosen community of practice and actually gain some level of control over it" (91). She also provides some student examples for this notion, like the student who tries to crack the role playing game instead of actually playing it. Carter also discusses learning vernacular literacies. She seems to focus quite a bit on video games, I guess because that is a form of literacy to the millenial generation? I think she is also talking about the use of vernacular and SAE in general, but seems to zoom in on the idea of video technology (i skimmed thorugh the chapters...not enough time to read the whole thing!). I also found her thoughts on standardized testing to be very interesting, especially because she mentions Texas, and I think those of us form this state remember taking the useless TAAS test and how our teachers put so much emphasis on it.


Ben Howard

To begin with, I was upset because I thought you was getting it completely wrong with the video games as literacy thing. I got excited, and then she claimed that basketball was literature and I had a moment of “oh my god, she thinks they are literature in the sense that they are a game, and games are now literature.” To clarify, basketball is not literature…

However, as she went on and I realized she’d done her research, this made me happy. Finally, something new and interesting that fits into what interests me: technology as learning tools. I especially like that she mentions Quake 2 because I’ve argued for a long time that Quake 2 was the turning part where video games because more than just mashing buttons and killing things. Quake 2 created the first real gamer communities (that didn’t live in basements) and required a lot of communication. Sure, you shoot rockets and blow people up, but when you killed somebody, you had to insult them. The only way to insult was to type (there wasn’t any of this fancy voice communication stuff that we have now). Not only did you have to type an insult but you had to type it before somebody else blew you up.

I LEARNED TO TYPE 130 WORDS A MINUTE PLAYING QUAKE 2.

That’s really kind of a weak example, but a lot of the studies into video games are coming up with the same kind of conclusions, and she cites a few of these. Video games challenge players to think critically. As video games become more advanced, they can’t get away with simple a-b solutions and plot lines. A lot of games now are so complex that something you do in the first 5 minutes of playing might affect your character 32 hours into the video game. Video games also can’t get away with plots such as “the big giant lizard captured the princess so you have to jump on turtles and eat mushrooms until you save her, BUT SHE IS IN ANOTHER CASTLE!” Xeno-Saga, a popular game four years ago actually had something like 42 hours of plotline story/video, and a total of 8 hours of actual game play. As the back stories and action become more complex in video games, it’s only reasonable to consider them a form of literature, and to look at them as tools to develop critical thinking skills.

Brb, that spah’s sappin mah sentry.


Jennifer Marciniak

Sean’s below quote from today’s posting is the basis behind my teaching portfolio:

“The reason we should be focusing on incorporation of video games, sports, and auto mechanics into our writing practices is not because we should hope that learning about these things will make our students more useful to society, but that by utilizing their interest in them, we can help demonstrate the ways in which they have already learned literacy practices through them and then apply that meta-knowledge to the contexts that will benefit them academically.”

You have to start somewhere, and the more you reach out to students by using something they are interested in, the better possibility you have of getting them motivated to learn even more skills to prepare their writing style for a more academic environment. Yes there was discussion about if sponsors “enable” illiteracy. This will be debated forever, just like liberals and conservatives will never agree on tax breaks. But we have to look beyond this infinite political argument that will never be won and consider what is practical for the student. After all, it is their writing and their thoughts. Like Christine said, not everyone cares about college. Not everyone is meant to be in an academic branch of college, some are more comfortable with vocational studies. There is nothing wrong with that. Acknowledging this is not “greasing the gears of illiteracy,” as John so eloquently putting. I know nothing about how to kill the damn roaches in my apartment, so I call the guy that does. You how thankful I am that he knows where to look for areas the roaches get in? Damn thankful, because I hate roaches but cannot effectively kill them. When my AC went out last summer, you think I knew what to do? Hell no, I called my maintenance guy Robert who knows how to do everything from pimpin’ out his buddies’ car stereos to changing locks. I know nothing about any of this stuff, so without that area of the workforce a lot of us would be royally screwed.

Carter says, we must “assume that every individual is highly literate in at least one community of practice” (151). So here is the fork in the road. People sign up for basic writing because they have to. As teachers, we don’t know why they are there unless we ask them. Some aim for academe. Some aim for trades. Some just want to learn the basics of the English language so they can get by in the US. Do we try and make them ride the academic rail and overload them with grammar and spelling until the run out of the room screaming? Or do take what they have to offer and help them shape their communication through practice and discussion of their interests. Unfortunately, being that the Department of Education had the final say here; Carter is right in her glumness of having to comply with state and federal education statutes (151). So what are we to do? Treat them as people or treat them as just another commodity that is bought, sold, or disposed of by standardized literacy practices?

It’s tragic. Nevertheless, we must start somewhere to get somewhere. So why not start with the 20 eager, bored, snoring, perplexed faces you have sitting in front of you at the start of every semester. Take the time to learn about each of them, what they do, what drives them. Not everyone is striving for a bank job and the white picket fence. Don’t get sucked in by educational stereotypes. We are not going to creating an Aryan Nation of college graduates and the quicker we realize difference and work to evolve that difference the more satisfied the teacher and student.


Tammy

I think this approach is wonderful, and I believe that teachers have been implementing it for years. I know that when I was an education major, one of my instructors would always endorse diverse Literacies. Students’ rhetorical dexterity is an approach which can support a scaffolding effect; first getting the students interested literacy of any sort and then building from there. Just as knowing more than one language gives one an advantage, so should knowing more than one form of literacy. First it is important to find out what the student already knows and is interested in and work from there. All Literacies have a value, and it is beneficial for students to be supported in their own unique ways of learning and interests. Hey, the Army uses video games to recruit young people, and students need to see that there are both good and bad aspects of all Literacies.


Jennifer G

I am late getting this in, which is sad considering I couldn't put this book down and read it all at once. I really enjoyed Carter's approach to literacy. It seemed to me humane and much less judgmental than others. I think one of the main things i learned from this is that it is important to understand that while the students in our classrooms may not be experts in "our" literacy, they are experts in "some form" of literacy. I must admit that the idea that a complete lack of literacy will not hinder a person in their quest for a better life, or simply understanding, is rather off the mark, but viewing people as people and not as the skill set that we think they should possess is important. It is also important to realize that our skill set is not the only one with value. There are other ways of forming an becoming literate outside the classroom, that is another lesson, but one I really don't want to pick a part right now. I found much of this book very useful and very well cited. I think this was the best read of the semester. -- Good choice-- I feel a great deal of my thoughts on this ended up in practice in my teaching portfolio. It makes it hard to know what else to say. I think that is one of the reasons I waited so long to post.