So Many Literacies, So Little Time

The title of this post is borrowed from one of the pre-service teachers I’m working with in a Literacies and Technologies Across Disciplines course at my new institution. It’s the beginning of a new semester, and in this course that means, it’s Literacies Log time. In this assignment, I ask students to 201log their literacy activity for just an hour’s worth of time. The results are always interesting, if not mind-blowing as we consider how much of our time is spent engaging with a wide range of texts of various genres and formats mediated by a variety of technologies. As one student remarked, “It’s like we are constantly being literate. Even if you are just thinking, you are making sense of a text of some sort or another.”


Above is just a smattering of the literacy practices we logged in an hour. And it got me thinking about a few things recent conversations I’ve had about literacies. For instance, we’re all (yes, I am speaking for all of ‘us’) tired of the ‘_________ literacies’ phenomenon. From visual literacies to digital literacies and fitness literacies to friendship literacies, from time to time hyphenating ‘literacies’ happens. (Heck, my work with Amy Stornaiuolo and Nathan C. Phillips is all about transliteracies.) Adding a term can help us to focus in on some aspect of literacy activity that we want to consider that may not—for one reason or another—have been foregrounded.

But it is always my hope whenever I see a ‘________ literacies’ that someday, because of the attention we give it with that prefix, that we’ll be able to talk about literacies, just literacies, and the focal aspect will be an obvious aspect to consider. And from the literacies logs turned in this year, I am even more hopeful that we’ll be able to drop some of those prefixes—like digital, visual, even trans—sooner than later. The everyday literacy practices logged were predominantly digital, involved visual modes, and a few of the students even noticed (without prompting from me) how their varied literacy practices allowed (or kept) them to be mobile across spaces and time.

So many literacies, but maybe someday…

As always, I apologize that WordPress has begun to force ads on each post. Please ignore any ad that follows. I have not vetted and do not support whatever is advertised below.

3 thoughts on “So Many Literacies, So Little Time

  1. I really appreciate your outlook on the idea of “___ literacies” and I made many connections to my own goals in my (re)design project for your class. When thinking about how my students approach literacy, so many student shy away because of the mental record that plays in their heads about ‘I just don’t read.’ But, the fact is, they are engaged in SO much literacy throughout the day, but I think it’s both not recognized by the student and acknowledged by the classroom teacher. My plan to rethink independent reading really branches into the point you make in this post. I believe there needs to be an acknowledgement by educators that Text and literacies have flourished to take on new meanings.

    My goal is to empower students to take a hold of their literacy journey and think about the reading they are engaged in as they continue to ‘read the world.’ Equally, I would like be apart of the dialogue as educators continue to evolve the mindset of literacy and how this is defined in today’s classroom.

    BTW – I really like the “Literacy Log” and the smattering ideas…I will be doing what teachers do best and STEAL them 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *