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Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Digital Literacy

They take full advantage of his ignorance of the language or wisdom. The illiterate men become like dancing dolls at the hands of the clever persons. They suffer in many ways in life. They are sending teachers into the remote corners of the villages of India in order to educate the people, irrespective of their age or profession. The programme of education has taken a bold step, and the results are encouraging. The students and the educated youth should come forward to join the literacy movement since launched by the government of India.

Classes can be held in a primary school or in any other suitable place that is available in the area chosen for literacy movement. Teaching can be arranged in the morning or in the evening. The students may be peasants, mill workers, or traders, the poor or the rich. The students are to be supplied with the books, and taught first how to read them, and then, how to write the scripts, imitating the printed letters in the books. The percentage of literate persons in India has considerably increased in comparison with the figures of the earlier years.

It is found that in the villages, the young and the old men and women assemble and sit together to take lessons from the teachers who have been specially trained and appointed for the purpose of teaching the illiterate mass. The students should also come forward voluntarily to actively participate in this noble literacy drive and make their country free from the curse of illiteracy.

I enjoyed the attention so much, I wanted more of it and so every vocabulary assignment thereafter was a new story filled with drama, intrigue, and lexical variety. I continued to write until I started college.

Its demands on my time were such that free time for writing was a luxury I did not have. My life up to that point prepared me so that when I entered college, I entered it secure in the knowledge that I was a literate person, able to take on the reading and writing tasks that would be asked of me. That is not the reality that many people face when entering college, unfortunately.

They must take the classes I placed out of to bring their literacy up to the college level. Since I plan on teaching those classes, it behooves me to take a closer look at what literacy is and how it is developed. Literacy as it relates to the written word involves engaging with the written word on multiple levels. A person must be able to read a string of letters and understand the meaning that particular string creates.

This comprehension of meaning is essential to the meaning of literacy; without it, you are left with someone who has learned to do nothing more than parrot the sound associated with each letter. The person has learned only the phonetic meaning of each letter, not its semantic meaning. When I read Japanese, I am an example of such half-accomplished literacy. I can sound out each grapheme 2 , but I have absolutely no idea what the final product means.

Literacy involves more than just being able to read a string of letters and understand its meaning, however. A literate person must also be able to recreate those letters from memory and string them along in such a way that meaning is conveyed accurately and efficiently.

This ability to write is just as essential to the definition of literacy as the ability to read is. Without it, a person's freedom is impinged upon; a person is left exposed to realities created by others without having the ability to refute them, much less the ability to create a new one. A person without the ability to write is nothing more than an answering machine — a receiver of messages without the power to create his own recorded message.

Society expects a person who is able to read proficiently to also be able to write proficiently. It is this latter skill that my students believe they need to improve.

While they are correct in that regard, almost all my students lack the critical thinking skills required to read a piece of literature and see beyond the surface meaning of the words on the page. Just because students enroll in my classes so that I can teach them composition in no way entails that they want to learn the subject. Half of my students have convinced themselves that they are just no good at writing and shouldn't bother trying to be, resigning themselves to a semester of boring essays they'd rather not have to write.

The other half is petrified of failing the class, certain they cannot possibly improve their writing skills enough to make a difference. Neither half usually likes reading. If my childhood experiences with literature have taught me anything, it is that not only is reading a necessary component of writing well, it must also be of literature that is well written.

In much the same way my father encouraged me to read the classics, students have to learn to be discerning of the quality of the literature they read in order to reap the greatest benefits from it. I don't yet know how to impart that sense of a work's literary merit to my students, but it is definitely something that I would like to include in my lessons.

Improvement takes longer than a semester to appear and, realistically, is a process that will last the entirety of a student's life. In order for that to happen, though, that student needs to continue to read even after concluding my class.

The only realistic way for that to happen is if the student developed a love of literature. I want to pass on my love of reading to students, to help them discover that it can be an enjoyable activity.

In addition to passing on my love of literature, I want to pass on my enjoyment of writing to my students. I want my students to want to write, not to feel forced to do so just to fulfill a course requirement. Each negative experience students have with writing only serves to more deeply ingrain in them their dislike of the activity. I don't expect my students to become recreational writers in their spare time, but I do want them to leave my class having written at least one essay they looked forward to and enjoyed writing.

I am far from being an expert in the field, but what I lack in knowledge I make up for with enthusiasm for my job. Personal experience has taught me that reading and writing can become enjoyable activities to people who are encouraged at every step of the way.

I want to be an instructor that my students respect enough to want to please, the way I wanted to please the people in my life who taught me the value of words. Seasoned with that desire and ladling out heaping servings of praise with my criticisms, I want to help my students achieve the full definition of literacy.

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This topic is particularly valuable to parents and teachers of language learners because working with individuals who manifest persistent speech errors and language difficulties may have a difficult time developing literacy skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Dec 07,  · Essay Writing Document-based question (DBQ) “Levels of Literacy” (60 minutes, 1, words minimum) Task: Describe the variations in the levels of literacy in Old Regime France and trace these variations over time.