What is 21st Century Literacy?

Standard

“. . . 21st Century literacy is about more than being able to read and access information; when you’ve got literally anything at your fingertips, you need to know how to discern between what information is correct, reliable, meaningful, and/or articulate. . . . ” (National Writing Project, http://digitalis.nwp.org/resource/5056#sthash.Kfhz2LFi.dpuf)

This gives us a definition, but it also raises the question is “why do we read”?  What motivates us to take the time to read and access information?  The author John Greene (one of my favorite contemporary writers) suggests that “reading is always an act of empathy” and it “gives us better tools to . . . connect to each other” so “we learn more about ourselves”.

So, as teachers we are called to design lessons for our students that address the “motivators” instead of just planning the curriculum.  We want our students to access information that is “correct, reliable, meaningful and/or articulate”, but we must reflect on students’ interests and the compelling reasons to read instead of the learning outcomes. This is what makes 21st Century literacy relevant and educational for our students.  This is what makes students want to learn.

 

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