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Literacy is All Around Us

Written by Chelsea Geier
May 10, 2013

After watching that short video, what was running through your mind? Think about it for a second. Were you constantly putting images to words? Making connections to your life? Comprehending what the picture was? It’s crazy to believe it, but just by watching that video you were defining a form of literacy that most people wouldn’t even think twice about. So what does this mean for the 21st century of readers? What exactly does reading look like? To start off with, reading is everywhere! It is especially crucial to surviving in this world. Think about the pictures from this video. For example, when you go into a restaurant to have a nice evening with some friends, you have to know how to read the menu just to order your food. Actually, you even have to be literate to be able to put words into sentences to comprehend and express what your friends are saying as well as responding back to them. It’s really crazy huh? Taking a simple situation such as going out to eat and connecting it with literacy.

So, what exactly counts as a text? Think back to the video for a second, was that a text in itself? It showed a bunch of images that readers can piece together a story or make a connection to whatever they want. Text is everywhere. Imagine yourself walking down a street and you come across a nice lady walking her dog. How do you know that it’s a nice lady walking her dog? How did you make that connection and ‘read’ the situation to know you were safe? It’s a form of literacy. Learning and teaching in schools allows students to be able to go out into the world to help make connections, comprehend, and explain what is going on around them. This leads to the question of what exactly is involved in the reading process? The reading process includes taking a text (whatever form that might be) and being able to break it down, decipher what’s being said or assumed, make connections to their own lives, comprehend for example differences from right and wrong, and then produce understanding and be able to relay information back out. There are many different issues that come up when understanding what a good reader is. Some students are very good readers when it comes to reading out loud, but when it comes to answering questions on a quiz, they have no idea what they just read. That is why to be qualified as a good reader is takes much more effort than just having one skill. Our students need to be well-rounded, engaged, excited to learn, and most importantly understanding what is going on and being able to explain that understanding.

To wrap this section up, again literacy is everywhere. It’s important to understand that everything we do, anything we encounter, is a form of literacy. It’s much more than just a text in a book that you assign for your students to read. It is vital to understanding and surviving in this growing world. It’s a challenge to know how to meet the needs of all students and providing them with information to grow into successful beings in this world, but as long as we keep open minds and keep learning as educators, we should have confidence and access to the knowledge that we love and hope to learn. 

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