(Critics) are not recognising or do not want to recognise that the former traditional approaches to alphabetic literacy through reading print are not meeting the needs of young people who read texts much differently than the generations of teachers and educators who are teaching them.(p. 42)
Zipes, J. (2009). Misreading children and the fate of the book in Relentless progress the reconfiguration of children's literature, fairy tales, and storytelling. London: Routledge. (Chapter 2, p. 27-44)
I disagree with this comment from Zipes. Much of what has been commented on in the research on reading decline in this module, comments on the shift of reading for pleasure by the time students enter high school or college.
So it seems to be incongruous to say that traditional approaches to alphabetic literacy are not meeting the needs of young people.
In order for a person to choose to read for pleasure, they must possess the necessary skills for reading. A significant part of developing those skills is the variety of kills and instructions surrounding the ability to decode ie alphabetic literacy.
I would suggest that it is the skills that build upon decoding – critical literacy, inferential literacy are the ones that are often under taught in classrooms (particularly over the past decade where significant portions of the literacy curriculum has been devoted to the teaching of ‘text types’). If our curriculum does not encourage, nay demand of us to teach beyond the decoding stage, then we are not meeting the needs of young people.
In todays information age, where people are bombarded daily with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of information, it is imperative that we teach our students to be critically literate, to develop skills for interpreting what they read, justify their interpretations, make their own meaning of texts they read, compare themselves and their own experiences with what they read, to read broadly, to develop their own point of view, to respond to what they read
Then we will be teaching young people to be
- avid, self motivated, confident readers
- who feel strongly about what they choose to read
- who justify their reading choices
- who are engaged in the process of reading because they choose to be
Regardless of whether they read in print or digitally.
For the teacher librarian, this means a greater collaboration with classroom teachers to use literature across the curriculum that encourages and explicitly teaches these skills to our students.