Multi-Literacy Plan for a classroom, a school, a …
What are the elements we need to consider? teacher resources, instructional activities, assessments (for, of, as learning), student texts (anything,
everything), support personal/collaborators …
Literacy to develop
Issue and elements
(see list provided/created) related to specific type of
literacy
Media
Critical literacy – what
are the messages being
given by the media? How
is the text (or person/
Corporation/entity)
behind the text trying to
manipulate me?
Design literacy – what is
the intended purpose of
the message and how can
I achieve that purpose
(manipulate the
audience)?
Digital literacy – how can
I produce and publish
ideas?
Comprehension
Critical thinking
Communication
Types of messages –
hidden, subtle, nuanced,
stereotypes, prejudices,
chauvinistic, misogynistic,
gendered, targeted audience,
purpose …
Production of texts –
how to use elements of
visual design, purpose of
colour, use of emotion …
to convey the central idea
of a desired message
(achieves the intended
purpose)
How to use the specific
types of media – still
photos, billboards, video
clips, YouTube, music,
advertising, television,
radio, internet …
Academic
Reading – making
meaning of alphabetical
texts
Scaffolding – making
connections between
images and sentences on
the same page (contextual
associations); providing
contextual vocabulary
helps in advance of the
reading; idea/concept
webs to activate preexisting knowledge about
the topic; think-alouds
while reading together …
Decoding – be aware of
the phonetic relationship
between letters and
sounds and syllable
structures
Cueing systems – using
the table of contents,
index, chapter titles,
opening and closing lines,
topic specific jargon or
other cues to create a
direction for
understanding intent
Reading strategies –
close, skimming, hypertext, oral, silent, paired
(same age, cross-ages/
grades, on-line …
Academic (cont’d)
Types of texts – literary
(novels, poetry, short
stories, song lyrics, plays,
legends, mythology …),
non-fiction (memoirs,
essays …), manuals
(how-to, instructions,
topic and task specific),
graphic novels, comic
books, newspapers,
CD/DVD/blue ray covers,
posters, billboards,
photograph captions …
Writing – representing
meaningful ideas through
the generation of texts
using alphabetical signs
Forms – note, letter,
poem, short story, essay,
article, editorial, memoir,
commentary, journal
entry, resume, Q & A,
advertisements …
Purposes for writing
include: Pragmatic
Writings – analyze, argue,
describe, direct, establish
and maintain contact,
explain, explore ideas
(hypothesize), inform,
instruct, interact, mislead,
order, persuade, plan,
present an idea, prompt a
discussion/action, record
Academic (cont’d)
data, reflect on ideas, set up
an interaction, transform,
therapy …
Aesthetic Writings – bring
enjoyment, capture
feelings/ideas, celebrate,
create, enlighten, entertain,
evoke emotion, express,
foster
understanding/empathy,
mirror, philosophize,
present an idea, reflect
culture, reflect on ideas, use
language & forms in
creative ways …
Intended audience – the
style, form and content must
be appropriate for a specific
audience
Central idea – sufficient
detail to create a full image
is required
Genres – represent different
types of stories and ways of
telling those stories. Each
genre has its own unique set
of traits
Brainstorming – is part of
the activating stage. Create
lists of words and phrases
that relate to and connect to
the central idea to be
conveyed
Idea-webs are ways to
organize the words and
phrases into potential
paragraph structures
Quick writes – allow the
writer to explore an idea
Revision – fine-tuning the
ideas by adapting,
modifying and changing the
content and flow of ideas
Multi-Literacies: Now what are we supposed to do?
Brandt (2001) suggests that there is in fact no such reality as “being illiterate.” She says that people are differently literate, but all are
literate. So where does that leave us? Who determines which definition of literacy counts? what should be taught in our schools? who should
direct our educational preparations and practices?
Our starting point is to try and define a 21t century definition of literacy (acting as the gate-keepers and determine what literacy means as
that will profoundly influence how a literacy plan for our schools might appear).
Define the word literacy – a social practice of interaction used for understanding (to make meaning of) and transforming the world (Beers,
2007); a set of skills that reflect the comprehension and communication needs of the time (Beers, 2007); a social practice for affecting the
world (Willinsky, 1991).
Define the term multi-literacies – a knowledge of the design, function and purposes behind the media, knowledge of and ability to use
technological tools, an awareness of the economic, symbolic and literal imagery of the entertainment and marketing worlds, and
understanding cultural, emotional and psychological considerations as they play into identity construction (Barton, Hamilton & Ivanic,
2000; Cope & Kalantzis, 2000; Holland, Lachicotte, Jr., Skinner & Cain, 1998).
The task of designing a school/divisional literacy plan means – educational institutions and teachers have an opportunity to respond to the
technological and related social changes by developing students’ abilities to be literate in this rapidly changing environment (Luke, 1997).
Being literate in this environment means people can interpret multiple and varied sign-systems to make meaning of texts (when texts are
defined as “anything and everything is a text”) consumed or create varied texts for use by targeted audiences, for a specific purpose, using a
multiplicity of media appropriate for the context in which the text is required.
References Cited
Barton, D., Hamilton, M., & Ivanic, R. (Eds.). (2000). Situated literacies: Reading and writing in context. London: Routledge.
Beers, K. (2007). The measure of our success (pp. 1 – 14). In K. Beers, R. E. Probst & L. Rief (Eds.), Adolescent literacy: Turning promise
into practice. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Brandt, P. (2001). Literacy in American lives. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Cope, B. & Kalantzis, M. (Eds.). (2000). Multiliteracies: Literacy learning and the design of social futures. London: Routledge.
Holland, D., Lachicotte, Jr., W., Skinner, D. & Cain, C. (1998). Identity and agency in cultural worlds. Cambridge: Harvard University
Press.
Luke, A. (1997). Critical discourse analysis. In L. J. Saha (Ed.), International encyclopedia of sociology of education (p. 50 – 57). Oxford:
Pergamon Press.
Willinsky, J. (1991). The triumph of literature/the fate of literacy: English in the secondary school curriculum. New York: Teachers.
*** Frank Smith is a psycholinguist and learning-theorist whose writings about learning address literacy in countless places. Therefore, I
would add anything and everything ever written by him as an invaluable resource to our professional practice to develop our own literacy,
understanding of our students’ literacies and the instructional choices we make to foster and develop those literacies.
Create a list identifying
multiple literacies (along with a brief comment of explanation if deemed necessary; if one term
might have multiple definitions, add them all):
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
Academic – knowing how to make meaning out of the type(s) of texts used in educational programs
Analytical – being able to analyze, explain or make sense of the socially accepted important ideas
Aristocratic – what you need to know to keep the class divides in place
Auditory
Communication
Computer
Critical – reading between the lines to get built-in, naturalized meanings of particularly subtle topics; being able to raise questions
regarding the status quo or hidden agendas found within texts
Critical discourse or dialogic
Cultural
Digital
Economic
Financial/monetary
Informational
In-school
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
Media
Musical
Numerical
Oral
Out-of-school
Reading – separate the elites from slaves initially, now still an economic or class qualifier; making meaning of alphabetical, symbol
constructs in the form of words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs and extended texts; decoding symbol systems; whole language
systems learned in relevant contexts,
Recitational – having memorized poetry, essays, speeches or other literary works and being able to use in contextually appropriate
settings
Relational
Scientific
Signatory – the requirement to be able to sign your name to make meaningful and binding contracts
Social
Systemic
Technological
Traditional
Underground – how do you communicate in subversive ways, not giving in “to the man” or the system
Visual
Writing – being able to write legibly, preferably using calligraphy has evolved into creating or interpreting a commonly accepted
sign system for communication
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Multi-Literacy Plan - Manitoba Reading Association