Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us

 

 

Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.

More

 

Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.

More

 

Reading & Language Arts Community

Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Defining Literacy in a Digital World

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

 

Defining Literacy in a Digital World

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Overview

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

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.

back to top

 

FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

The literacy demands that students face today have changed greatly from those which students met even five or ten years ago. NCTE’s Topical Resource Kit, Professional Communities at Work: Engaging Media-Savvy Students: Exploring Multimodal Literacies through Popular Culture and Technology explains:

Classrooms are rapidly moving beyond traditional notions of text. For years, teachers relied almost completely on books and other print texts—especially in terms of the texts that students were asked to compose. Because of the changes in technologies available to us today however, texts in the classroom frequently include a much wider range of modalities—systems that people use to make meaning. In fact, a single text often engages more than one way of making meaning.

Today’s media-savvy students compose and read texts that include alphabetic- and character-based print, still images, video, and sound. They listen to podcasts, watch animations on the Internet, film their own videos, and compose visual arguments on paper and online. Reading and composing for these students includes such features as visual design, nonlinear organizational structures, and oral storytelling techniques. (“Framing Text” 3)

Students interact with this wide range of texts using ever-expanding strategies for making meaning; yet they do not always recognize these many resources as legitimate texts. By exploring the ways that they read and write in this lesson, students extend their understanding of what it means to be literate in the digital age.

Further Reading
National Council of Teachers of English. 2005. Professional Communities at Work: Engaging Media-Savvy Students: Exploring Multimodal Literacies through Popular Culture and Technology. Topical Resource Kit. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

back to top