Defining Literacy

This first writing assignment calls upon you to define key terms that will frame the research project you will undertake this term. To do so, you’ll need to (a) address common misconceptions about these seemingly simple terms, (b) offer reasons such definitions are inaccurate at best, and (c) articulate new, more appropriate definitions of relevant terms. You need to develop working definitions of literacy, text, literacy practices, and literacy events, then consider what it means to approach literacy as a social practice. In preparation for this essay, you should reflect upon your initial understanding of these concepts and the specific, extensive ways the assigned readings in Chapter 1 disrupted previous expectations. Your overarching task in WA1 is to “redefine literacy” as informed by the conversations represented in this chapter and in your in-class discussions on the same. However, doing so will require you to define additional, deeply related terms like “reading,” “writing,” “text,” “literacy practices,” and “literacy event.” Successful WA1s will address the above prompt, in part, by making extensive, meaningful use of of Hawisher and Selfe’s “Becoming Literate in the Information Age,” Berry, Barton’s “Talking About Literacy,” Barton and Hamilton’s “Social Theory of Literacy Practices and Events,” and (if your instructor assigns it) Hamilton’s “Expanding New Literacy Studies: Using Photographs to Explore Literacy as a Social Practice.” In this essay, you should not only redefine literacy but explain why it is necessary to redefine literacy and related terms. WA1 includes two parts. The first part is a traditional, academic essay; the second part (no more than one page) is a glossary of 4-5 terms (no more than two sentences per definition). The terms included in your glossary should be addressed in the essay portion as part of your overall attempt to redefine literacy. WA1 should be approximately 3-4 pages in length, including the glossary, and adhere to regular essay requirements: 12 pt. Times New Roman Font, standard heading, and double spaced with 1” margins.