Literacy is a term that can be defined indefinitely by a number of people, depending on their circumstances and situations, but to me it deals with an individual’s ability to read and write, communication, and one’s ability to convey meaning to others. Some words have multiple meanings and what it means to one individual, may not be the case for another person. We define words based on our life experiences and the certain situations that we have undergone. The definitions of words are our own interpretation and that meaning has a special role in our lives.
Those words stay with those individuals and act as a guide as they endeavor into the world. Literacy is one of those words that its definition depends on the person. One should know that “there are different literacies associated with different domains of life” (Adkins 22). What may be considered a form of literacy to one may be deemed illiterate to another individual. One of the first things that we, as little children, learned to do at school with our peers and teachers was to read and write.
Reading and writing are the fundamentals needed in order to be successful in this world, and they are essentially the gateway to bigger and better things. According to the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), “One of the best predictors of whether a child will function competently in school and go on to contribute actively in our increasingly literate society is the level to which the child progresses in reading and writing.
” Reading and writing introduce young minds to a whole new perspective when it comes to language, no matter what language it is. They improve one’s education by providing the basic skills that one will need later on in their academic life. Think about this: what can you really and truly achieve without reading and writing? In my opinion, one can achieve nothing of substance without these skills. I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to both read and write because of the wonderful benefits in today’s society.
Reading and writing does not have to only be learned in school. For example, reading can be learned through a child being read a bedtime story every night by an adult. This reading will not only stimulate their young minds, but also open a portal to something magnificent that cannot be replaced. Writing is equally as important because what is read is reinforced by recognizing what certain letters are and how they sound when pronounced all together. Without writing, one’s ideas could not be visible and permanent, something that is needed when involving other people.
For example, if one were explaining a specific portion of a scientific essay to someone who had a hearing disability, writing would be more suitable for them, and that writing could be shared easily with other readers. Writing is also a way of expressing who you are, what you stand for, and your ultimate life goals and desires. Writing, no matter what the language or symbol, has the ability to influence people around them because of its content and how the words affect them personally.
Reading and writing are both essential aspects of literacy because they represent the fundamental skills necessary to achieving great things in this world. Communication is another aspect of literacy because it can connect people from all over the world. It helps an individual voice their ideas and beliefs to an audience. When one communicates with another, it is vital to note that they may not take your argument the way you want them to, but at least they will have heard what you have to say about the topic.
People communicate their ideas, opinions, and beliefs to others everyday and it strengthens us as a whole because we all are seeing different points of views on certain things. When an author is writing a novel or a scholar is publishing a journal they are communicating a message that they want their audience to read and be aware of. The message travels from the author to the book to the audience and this message contains the ideas of an individual with something meaningful to say about a topic. One’s ability to give purpose to words is another way to define literacy.
When a person says something, it’s important that the message being said doesn’t just end up being a bunch of meaningless words to the audience. In order for a message to be effective, it must relate to the person hearing them when it’s stated. When something is said, you should want your message to really sink into people’s minds and make them think about it. It should make them think and possibly form their own ideas. What a message means to one, may be deciphered as something completely different to another.
This is acceptable because we give words our own meanings that we can understand and relate to. Looking at the concept of literacy events, “…there is a written text, or texts, central to the activity and there may be talk around the text. Events are observable episodes which arise from practices and are shaped by them” (Adkins 23). A literacy event can be identified because literacy is being discussed among people. It is where communication and meaning really come into play with the author and the audience. An example of a literacy event is a music concert; one filled with loud music and devoted fans.
The performer is delivering a message through a song accompanied with music to the crowd. Reading and writing are incorporated because of the performer’s ability to develop the lyrics. It takes time to write and edit an expressive song, especially since the song has a special connection to the performer. The crowd then interprets these lyrics in their own ways and gives them a personalized meaning. This concert is also an example of a literacy practice, which are “…general cultural ways of utilizing written language which people draw upon in their lives” (Adkins 22).
Another example of an event would be a teacher and a student reviewing and editing a paper for English. Both are going over literacy by reading the student’s work and making revisions where they are needed. They are discussing possible changes to the essay and why they should be made in order to make the essay better as a whole. Understanding what the teacher is saying about the paper is essential so that the proper changes can be made and so that the student’s writing can be improved.
The communication between the two and the student’s comprehension of what is being said by the teacher further illustrates a literacy event. In conclusion, literacy, to me, is a word that has many different meanings. These meanings may be different, but in a way they relate and intertwine with one another because of what they involve. When dealing with literacy, it is best to know that it is “…a set of social practices; these can be inferred from events which are mediated by written texts” (Adkins 22).
So, when one is identifying literacy in context of a piece of writing, he or she needs to think about the message that the author is trying to convey and how it can affect them. Reading and writing is essential when expressing ideas and beliefs about a topic or subject. When discussing a topic with someone, communication is needed so that the audience understands what you’re talking about and the stance you’re taking on it as well. When the audience hears or reads the message, it’s important that the message spurs a thought process that guides them to have a viewpoint on the topic and write or read more about it.
Literacy is a term that helps society exponentially grow as one because of these certain aspects. Works Cited Barton, David, and Mary Hamilton. “A Social Theory of Literacy: Practices and Events. ” Ethnographic Inquiries In Writing. By Tabetha Adkins. Southlake: Fountainhead, 2010. 21-24. Print. Neuman, Susan B. , Carol Copple, and Sue Bredekamp. “Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children. ” (2004): 1-2. Web. 7 Feb. 2013. <http://www. pbs. org/teacherline/courses/rdla155/pdfs/c2s2_5devapprop. pdf>.
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