Literacy Is Inescapable

By Miguel Galvan

This post is written by a student in READ 4351 Learning through Literacy. Students in this course are part of the high school and all-level teacher preparation programs and are pursuing certification in a wide variety of subject areas.

In my READ 4351 class, I was assigned to write a 10 page report on adolescent literacy. I used my girlfriend’s teenage brother as the subject of my writing and with his cooperation and some in depth research, I learned a lot about adolescent literacy.  I came up with the thematic idea that Literacy is Inescapable and decided to write my blog on this.

Socially Inescapable:

After collecting and studying all of my data, I have found that teenage kids cannot escape literacy, and they wouldn’t want to if they could.  Danny, along with many other teenage kids, doesn’t even realize that he actually enjoys literacy.  In his interview, Daniel expressed that he doesn’t like to read much because he claims that it does not interest him. But Danny doesn’t even realize that he spends most of his time reading and writing.  Between all the text messages, emails, online chats, scripts and television subtitles, Danny spends almost all day reading things that he likes.  Adolescents cannot escape the fact that literacy is an important aspect of their lives.  In today’s times a teen must be able to read and write not only to keep up socially, but career-wise as well. 

Professionally Inescapable:

In order to even have a chance at competing for a career opportunity, literacy is a must.  Studies by the International Center and other groups have shown that reading requirements for the workplace are at a higher level than and different from the requirements for higher education. (What We Know about Adolescent Literacy, Dr. Willard R. Daggett, International Center for Leadership in Education, Dr. Ted S. Hasselbring, Vanderbilt University) This is why the national and state governments have recently spent so much to promote literacy for children starting at an early age.  One of the national steps taken to advocate literacy in schools is the LEARN (Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation) Act. This act will ensure that children up to grade twelve have the necessary literacy skills for success for school and beyond by providing support to state and local literacy programs in three steps.  The first step would be authorizing $2.35 billion for comprehensive literacy programs, including both existing and new state and local programs. LEARN also plans to enhance each state’s role in improving literacy instruction, with the creation of websites like southtexasliteracy.org in which the state focuses on literacy on the local level.  Finally LEARN will support the creation of local high-quality literacy programs in schools by providing professional development for instructional staff.  (http://www.literacytexas.org/assets/LEARN_ACT_(one-pager).pdf) LEARN is important to help adolescents who may be struggling with literacy in order to give them equal access to effective reading instruction, because there is no way these kids will escape the fact that literacy is important in anything they do.

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