Saturday, October 28, 2006

Additional Questions from a Group 1 Member

Brandt's examination of literacy focuses on writing and sometimes excludes consideration of reading, in part to to "help redress the neglect of the social history of writing in comparison to reading"(12). Do you believe that Brandt's focus on writing over reading seems reasonable? Do you think Brandt's book is limited by her tendency to sometimes exclude half of the "literacy equation" (i.e. reading) from analysis?

Brandt's methodology for examining Literacy in American Lives focuses on people and largely ignores institutions that teach literacy, such as schools and libraries. What roles do libraries have in the story/stories told in Brandt's book?

5 Comments:

At 8:42 PM, Blogger Julia said...

The role of libraries was something I struggled to bring up in my reader responses. I tried to take what lessons I could, and also brainstormed ways that librarians could improve literacy. I think it's possible for a public or academic library to run writing workshops and book clubs, and also to encourage writing as well as reading.

 
At 8:21 AM, Blogger Ginny said...

I think it is very difficult and unproductive to separate reading from writing. I'm not sure that writing has been neglected or that it makes more sense to combine it with other forms of literacy. In teaching first and second grades for twelve years we always combine the two and have found that to be productive. As librarians, assisting patrons to be better writers is helpful, but I'm not sure it is really our job.

 
At 11:48 AM, Blogger Hannah Gray said...

In response to a librarian's role in relation to literacy, Brandt seemed to argue that librarians are more 'sponsors' than teachers of reading. For instance Brandt uses both examples of a librarian aunt encouraging her niece's reading by sending books as gifts and the presence of librarians within prison libraries. In the case of Johnny Ames he recalled using "the law library [within the prison], helped there by a librarian who took an interest in his well-being" (63). Brandt is not arguing that librarians' responsibilities should include teaching patrons to read and write, but she shows that librarians act as literacy sponsors when they go beyond their professional duties and take a personal interest in their patrons by encouraging their reading and writing skills.

 
At 7:01 PM, Blogger mjbrunelle said...

I think that Brandts focus on writing is limiting, as there is often a huge disparity between peoples reading comprehension skills and their writing skills.

 
At 6:14 AM, Blogger lkbronstad said...

I agree that it is problematic to seperate reading and writing, but my feeling is that writing doesn't get talked about as much as reading, and so I think it is worthwhile to try to focus on writing. And actually, I don't get the feeling from this book that Brandt has tried to ignore reading--but she's tried to look at literacy primarily from a perspective concerned with writing, instead of the more typical, reading-centered view.

 

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