ERIC Number: ED299542
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
The Literacy Image: Assumptions and Implications.
Thompson, Mark E.
In the United States, the illiterate or functionally illiterate population has been estimated at somewhere between 7 and 73 million people. This range is primarily due to variables such as definitions of literacy, methods of survey research, and the researcher's unique perspective. Literacy is traditionally defined using some criteria relating to the fundamental skills of reading, writing, and calculating, and typically includes less quantifiable skills such as a higher level thought process (e.g. thinking, problem solving, and ability to discourse on topics related to history, government, social issues, and science). Within each definition of literacy, different assumptions are being made. For example, in the twentieth century, the acquisition of intellectual skills is implied within the basic definitions of literacy (reading and writing). One implication from reports that attempt to measure literacy is that literacy definitions cannot account for variations in skills needed to function at different levels of society. The wide variety of literacy definitions developed throughout the years demonstrate that literacy may be a relative state, dependent upon differing views about literacy's social purposes and values. Beyond knowing the basics of literacy, there is an unknown process within each individual that works to promote self-development, inquiry, and openness of expression. (One hundred and twenty-two footnotes are included.) (MM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the North Central Reading Association (31st, South Bend, IN, October 28, 1988).