Saturday, January 23, 2010

What is Literacy?

Literacy has many definitions but I consider literacy to have two parts: reading and writing. Being a literate individual means using reading and writing to enhance a students learning and development and being able to relate that understanding of reading and writing to everyday experiences. I never realized how important outside experiences are to learning literacy, but being able to bring something familiar into the classroom can really improve students motivation and engagement. Another key component to literacy is classroom management that is effective and beneficial to for students development. After having our classroom discussion last week, I have noticed the impact that classroom management and instruction have on literacy because it is needed in order for the teaching and learning to run smoothly. Without organization and the implementation of various literacy strategies, it will be nearly impossible for students to effectively learn. Various strategies that I have experienced personally in school and at my placements include free writes, silent reading, book buddies, read alouds, writing stories, and many others. After looking at the concept maps from my classmates, it is obvious that there are so many components that go into teaching children literacy, and I hope to fulfill many of those as future educators.

Throughout my MSU courses and experiences in my placements, I have been able to come up with an ideal classroom environment that I would want to have in the future. One of the main things I want is a level of confidentially and feelings of being comfortable in discussing and sharing our ideas of literacy. Multicultural literature is also something I hope to incorporate into my classroom because I want all students to relate to the literature, regardless of their race or ethnicity. Incorporating a wide variety of activities to do with reading and writing into the classroom, allows students to find a way of learning literacy that they prefer. Not all children learn in the same way, so it is vital to offer them numerous options on how to learn literacy their best. It is also significant that students know that they should be excelling in both reading and writing, not just one or the other, because it takes both components to become a literacy learner.

After taking the digital natives quiz, I realized that I am not a digital native, but rather an immigrant. I was unaware of several of the definitions for specific terms, and had not even heard of some of the words, so I did not feel comfortable in using those words in a technological sense. Emergent learners, according to Tompkins, say that, "literacy development has been broadened to incorporate the cultural and social aspects of language learning, and children's experiences with and understandings about writing language--both reading and writing--are included as part of emergent literacy" (pg. 111). It is important for children to relate their social experiences and things they are doing outside the classroom with literacy in the classroom. For instance, I used instance messaging frequently when I was younger, and although that did not have the same effect of learning literacy as I would have had in the classroom, it still had me practicing writing and reading so I was getting the repetition that was necessary to continue on with my literacy learning. These are all important components of literacy, and being able to give the students comparisons about their outside social world, in the classroom, will be vital experiences for them to succeed in literacy.

1 comment:

  1. I really like how you incorporated your views on the importance of multicultural literacy in your post! When we read the article from our coursepack, entitled "Out of the Box: Cricital Literacy in a First Grade Classroom", I was really inspired by the first-graders. I've always thought that it is extremely important to incorporate a variety of storybooks and pictures book in my future classroom, but I never really thought that a group of first-graders could grasp such serious concepts such as those introduced in The Lady in the Box. It really makes me think that when I'm teaching, I shouldn't shy away from using text such as that. Multicultural literacy is really important and it should be incorporated in a teacher's literacy practices! You also talked about creating a comfortable classroom community/environment, and by introducing multiculteral awareness to your students, you would be fostering a caring and empathetic class.