Defining Literacy in a Digital World

While students interact with a range of print, visual, and sound texts, they do not always recognize that these many documents are texts. By creating an inventory of personal texts, students begin to consciously recognize the many literacy demands in contemporary society. Students begin by brainstorming a list of items that combine different ways of expressing ideas—such as a poster or DVD. After the lists are shared, list items are identified as texts (audio texts, video texts, etc.) Students then create an inventory of significant texts that they have engaged with over a specified period of time, and discuss why it is important to interact with a variety of different types of texts. With this start, they create a working definition of literacy that they refine and explore as they continue their investigation of the texts that they interact with at home, at school, and in other settings.