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Identities as readers and writers of texts

Written by Rebecca Rupert
October 15, 2011

As students thought about reading as interpreting text, writing as making meaning, and text as anything to which they might ascribe meaning, and as they talked about these concepts during their planning and videotaping, it was gratifying for me to watch them increasingly identify themselves as readers and writers. Later in the semester, students had some background upon which to build as they explored and made meaning around the sometimes difficult texts we read together. But by this time, they were already thinking of themselves as readers and writers, and they had strategies they’d used before that might be of help to themselves and their peers.

Bee Foster, in her Digital Is resource, “Redefining Texts,” expands this idea of “text” in a similar way, and asserts that multimodal creations are texts can be read (interpreted) and written (created).

The “Literacy in Our Lives” activity helped me build community among my students and their pre-service teaching mentors. It allowed us all to consider how multiple literacies shape our lives and identities. And it allowed us to tap into and celebrate the rich out-of-school literacies that go into creating our identities.  As a result of teaching this activity multiple times, I’ve come to look at digital and multimodal texts as forms of writing that require ways of reading that have some processes in common with reading print-on-a-page, but also go beyond this in significant ways.  And this, I feel, has implications regarding assessing digital and multimodal writing.  My work with the NWP Multimodal Assessment Committee this past year has provided me with a framework and a starting point to think about assessing this kind of writing, and now what I want to do is explore some practical applications of the framework by using it to assess the multimodal and digital writing that I have my student create.  

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