I’m going to treat this post like an Easter egg, and come back to open it later. It contains the seeds of some ideas that need further developing at a later stage.
Something interesting happened this weekend – I got caught up on my marking!
Somewhere in this marathon session, I was abruptly reminded again of a literacy misconception that I’m getting pretty tired of hearing. Here is my attempt at explaining this.
When considering WHAT we consume, this can be broken into the categories of reading, listening and viewing media texts. Within these silos, there are a range of different media types. The misconception comes when people rank these medias in terms of difficulty, and it is as such:
- Literary texts – with novels being the ultimate
- Informational texts
- Graphic texts
- Media texts
I came across this misconception (?) again and again in my marking. I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know how it is perpetuated. And it frustrates me.
There are so many skills required to critically consume these different kinds of texts. And I have no doubt that there are complicated skills required to consume a novel – thus the reason there are entire university degrees devoted to understanding this text type! But to then demote the others texts – I have a problem with that.
I think it goes back to the purpose for consuming. And who doesn’t need to consume these. I’ve mentioned before about my profound sadness walking into a classroom a few years ago (again, I appreciate the privilege of being able to go into other classes) and saw an entire intermediate class with novels in their hands. They were required to all read a novel – and I understand the motivation. The teacher wanted the students to do better in reading – so they had to read novels to make them better readers.
I’m continually haunted by this objective: preparing our students to be literate in the world of tomorrow. Novels have a place – but not for everyone, and not in every situation. The reality is that (most?) people may not read novels in their adult lives (which is a shame, because great fiction teaches us how to be better humans!) so they need to be literate in a variety of text forms.
So in my dreams, when I get the chance for higher study, I’ll look into the complexities involved in consuming these different texts. So now I’ll leave it here.