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ERIC Number: ED465980
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Apr
Pages: 23
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Defining Literacies.
Wood, Jeffrey W.
The current literacy crisis, which has spawned numerous studies and generated vigorous debate, is less about decreasing literacy and ability among the North American and worldwide population than it is about who controls literacy, how literacy is used, and who can use literacy. Most who claim there is a literacy crisis are reacting to the expansion of the "dominant discourse" and the broadening nature of literacy. They define literacy as something which reflects and supports a narrower definition of the dominant discourse which is largely western, white, and male dominated. This paper calls for a broadening of the definition of literacies, toward one that is more inclusive. Literacy, as defined in the paper, applies to more than just reading and writing--it encompasses any form of communication; literacies are multiple and are created and used through a "critical socio-psycho-semiotic process." And the understanding of discourses in the paper--the sayings, doings, thinkings, feelings, and valuings within a specific group--comes largely from the work of James Paul Gee (1990; 2000). The paper discusses why it is important to label literacies as critical; why semiotics is necessary in the definition of literacies; and literacies as social process. It relies on the socio-psycholinguistic reading model developed by Ken Goodman to understand how literacies work as a process. In Goodman's model, according to the paper, literacies use four cueing systems: semantic (meaning), syntactic (the grammar and rules of literacies), sensory (the medium through which the user interacts with literacies), and pragmatic (context). The paper examines each of these cueing systems in turn. (Contains 36 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A