As stated in my previous post, literacy is most commonly described as the ability to read and write. In 1996, the New London Group created the term ‘multiliteracies‘ in order to broaden the definition of literacy. The New London Group saw a need for change in literacy practices to accompany the changes that were occurring in the world. Multiliteracies create a space for students to become creative and innovative when it comes to literacy. Students are able to express their thoughts and ideas in ways that make sense to them. Multiliteracies recognize the benefits of the digital world, as well as the diverse backgrounds that students come from.
Multimodalities create a way for students to express their ideas. Expression can be done through a variety of ways including through visual or audible representation. Technology plays a key part in helping students accomplish these means of expression.
In chapter one of Seeing All Kids as Readers, we are introduced to a young boy named Isaac who has been diagnosed with Trisonomy 21. Isaac’s parents recently removed their son from his previous school to a new, fully inclusive school. In his previous school, he was placed in a room of disabled peers who were non-verbal, and there was no emphasis on literature what so ever. When he enters his new inclusive school he is fully involved in the process of choosing what book they will be reading, and even started a class dance party in the middle of the book. Isacc’s literate identity was able to shine through in his new classroom. Through his interest in books by Maurice Sendak, the teacher was able to include him fully into their circle time by creating the focus around his favorite book, Where the Wild Things Are. Isaac brought joy to his class as he got his classmates to join him in dancing like the characters in the book.
One of my favorite resources this week is the interactive stories website. Each story is filled with informative texts and audio that really draw the readers in. These sites take a creative twist to story telling and literature as a whole. Various pictures and facts accompany many of these stories. Throughout my time checking out some of these stories, I came across the story of, “Killing Kennedy“. I was brought to a quote by JFK that resonated with me when thinking about inclusive education, and children like Isaac.
As future teachers, we should constantly be striving to properly and effectively educate all of our students so that they do not become lost in our society, and cast aside as
invaluable. Students like Isaac deserve to be active participants in classrooms. They deserve to be literate beings, and they deserve to have a chance to create their own literate identity.