Living a Literate Life
Literacy in the 21st century has become bizarre; nowadays praise gets thrust upon a person who takes the time to spell out a word, instead of writing in shortened “text talk.” Our culture has begun to settle for literate mediocrity in place of our previous valued educational morals. For example, a mere century ago newspapers wrote, with heightened vocabulary, about political matters and other substantial subjects. People enjoyed discussing the issues with their neighbors and friends. However, in today’s world, newspapers write at a fourth grade reading level about upcoming merriment. As a society, we can do better. We can enhance our view of literacy; we can explore new topics; we can become educated citizens. Although reading and writing has gone by the wayside, we have the power to change the status quo. Educators in particular possess a direct channel to initiate the necessary change.
The benefits of leading a literate life highly outweigh the negative connotations. Don Graves said it best when he stated that “[l]iterate people have a passion for asking questions, both big and small, a hunger for learning new things and for making connections. In short, they have a particular stance toward the universe: one of constant engagement and learning.” As humans, we all have natural instincts to ask questions and ponder possible solutions; reading facilitates this. Developing the passion for inquiry may take time and effort, but once the art of questioning has become perfected, the surrounding world can be openly and vigorously explored! Making connections will also enhance the exploration and, consequently, people will become lifelong learners.
Personally, I strive to live a literate life. I enjoy learning innovative ideas and new aspects of the world by reading a variety of texts. Because I also enjoy writing, each night, I benefit from reviewing my day and debriefing in my personal journal. I particularly like to find a common theme or a frequent question I encountered during the day and then I allow myself to explore the possibilities through writing. When I write, I feel free to articulate my beliefs and truly improve my character. In addition to my journal, I also enjoy writing letters to my loved ones. I take pleasure in expressing my feelings to them in the form of writing and handwritten notes also serve as a tangible record as well as add a personal flavor to relationships. Some journal entries and letters I have written would be excellent to share with students. My hope is that my letters and other writings will eventually fall into the hands of future generations. Although I privately share letters with select people, I currently do not have an audience to view my writing, which Kaufman encourages. While my writing does not embarrass me, before this blog, I previously had no mainstream channel for publishing. Throughout this semester of Adolescent Literature, I want to confidently share my thoughts and writing, which will ultimately translate into sharing my work with students. As does Kaufman, I too “…must live my literacy in front of the members of that society to whom I am deeply committed.” I plan to continue on my journey of living a literate life because, not only will it benefit my future students, I will also benefit from it.