| November 26, 2013


According to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, Literacy is the ability to read and write, knowledge that relates to a specified subject and/or the quality or state of being literate. Literacy means different things in the context of different subjects. However, I like to identify “Literacy” as the act of decoding and reassembling the codes found within the text. It is the fluency of the language, of the medium, in which you are engaged in.

Literacy is an important skill set that has real world applications for the success of those interested in progress, but more importantly survival. Could you imagine the type of literacy that would’ve been involved early on in the survival of the human race before we came up with the whole knowledge sharing involved in written notation, handwriting. The beginning pictographs and signs we would have had to come up with to signify danger, and the decoding that would have to happen in order to understand it. Literacy is about making sense of not only written text, but the comprehension of the text of life from moment to moment.

A “text” is described as; the original words and form of a written or printed work or an edited or emended copy of an original work. That is the standard definition of that term, but there are several others. The one definition that serves our purpose the best and that I enjoy the most is; something (life) considered as an object to be examined, explicated, or deconstructed. Perceiving life as a “text” definitely helps create the idea of “contextual fluency” which is how well the teacher can understand the codes and signs present in their students. The better the understanding that the teacher can have of the student, the better the lesson planning, communication, assignment creation and overall progress can be proctored.

Literacy is very important in our lives as academians, students, teachers, and survivors. I truly believe in the spiral curriculum that Bruner describes as allowing people to learn any topic/subject at any age. Literacy plays a major role in the success of this curriculum. Critical thinking, Critical awareness and Understanding all share this same condition of “literacy” through the action of critical reflection. We should all be concerned with our level of literacy within the parameters of written language, whether formal or informal in nature. We should also be concerned with our literacy of the text of students and our fluency in their language. This requires a deep and more focus understanding of the individual. This understanding through contextual fluency helps create more a better environment from which to work. The classroom is a platform from which to distribute information, foster literacy, share experiences, proctor meaning making and strengthen understanding.