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Scribner Reading Log

Lelan Lineberry

Professor Agosta

UWRT 1101

18 January 2017

1. Read the University Writing Programs description of Critical Reading in our full syllabus
(can be found on Canvas). After reading this statement, describe what critical reading is.
What makes it a particular kind of reading? What is your typical process of reading for
school? Reading articles like this? Do not feel compelled to tell me what the teacher
wants to hear. How do you honestly approach reading for your classes?

Critical reading is the ability to read a piece of literature and do more with it than just
comprehend it. The ability is to analyze, and realize the underlying message with full
understanding more than just being able to reciprocate what one just read. My typical
process of reading for school deals with a lot of rereading, and reading very slow. I get
distracted very easily so I like to read slowly so I am able to comprehend and reread
phrases or full sentences so that I obtain a full understanding. I do not do things such as
annotating or highlighting along with normal reading though.

2. The title of the piece is Literacy in Three Metaphors, and the author goes on to offer us
three ways of viewing literacy. Consider what you know about literacy. What does this term
mean to you? Describe that here.

To me literacy before I read this passage literacy was simply either being able to read and
write or not being able to read and write, but I now understand that there is much more to
it than just simply being able to read and write. There is an extent to literacy, two people
may be able to read and they are literate but one may be on a 3 rd grade reading level
while the other has a PhD in English. I also believe literacy deals a lot with the quality of
ones life and their location. For example there are areas all over the country of high and
low literacy rates and many of them directly correlate to high and low income
communities. The literacy rate in third world countries where families are often very poor
is also very low. This is why I believe there is more to literacy than just intelligence, but
there are also other factors and restrictions.

3. In the first four paragraphs of this text, Scribner describes some issues surrounding
research of literacy. Why is this a tricky subject to research, according to Scribner?

It is a tricky subject for a number of reasons. First things first literacy does not have
boundaries. There is no right answer or wrong answer such as in math, there cannot be an
exact number of literacy. Because it has no boundaries it is not understood and is pursued
by many to further understand. The problem then arises though about people attempting
to pursue the answer to the question of what is literacy. Works over the years have hit key
points in the literacy argument but none of which have won a true agreement on the
definition. This is where the discussion of what is literacy comes in because different
definitions and backgrounds of work lead to different aspects of the problem and
ultimately it is an opinion based open-ended question.
4. At the end of page 7 onto page 8, Scribner asks the reader to consider the following. In
this paragraph, Scribner differentiates literacy as an attribute of individuals and literacy
as a social achievement. Try to parse out what she means here how do the two
different views change how we see, understand, and define literacy? Which view does
Scribner advocate?

Scribner claims literacy abilities are acquired by individuals only in the course of
participation in socially organized activities with written language. This means that
Scribner believes someone is not truly literate if they cannot participate socially in
activities with written language. I agree with this statement but I feel that it is open to
discussion because people live in different social environments and partake in different
activities. For example, similar to the passage, in a popular town in a place like New York it
is normal for kids to be reading chapter books in elementary school but in a different social
environment the norm may be to learn the native song and dance. Not only do social
environments and norms change from place to place but they also change from one time
period to the next. Different societies can have a different impact on a persons literacy
and I believe it is a social achievement. One learns to read at a very young age not
because they want to, but because someone else wants one to. Even if one learns to read
later on in life it is done so to conform to society so I do believe literacy is a type of social

5. At the end of page 8, Scribner notes, In this essay, I will examine some of them
[meanings of literacy], organizing my discussion around three metaphors: literacy as
adaptation, literacy as power, and literacy as state of grace. Each of these metaphors is
rooted in certain assumptions about the social motivations for literacy in this country, the
nature of existing literacy practices, and judgments about which practices are critical for
individual and social enhancement. She goes on to note that any of these metaphors
taken individually will only reveal a partial understanding of literacy. Literacy is a many-
meaninged thing. Here the author makes a turn to show what she will be adding to the
conversation about literacy. This is what we should expect to get as a reader three
metaphors that help us make sense of literacy.

Read from page 8 through the top of page 15. There, Scribner articulates each of her
metaphors: Literacy as Adaptation, Literacy as Power, and Literacy as State of Grace. In
the remainder of your reading log, aim to select 2-3 quotes from each of these sections (6-
9 in all). Next to or below the quote, annotate with your thoughts. Annotations can include:
reactions, notes about understanding Scribners points, questions, connections to your
personal experiences or current events. You can write this in paragraph form or in a table.
Please track and note what page the quote is coming from. Make sure each quote has a
follow-up annotation.

Literacy as Adaptation
Do all communities and cultural groups in our class-based and heterogeneous society
confront equivalent functional demands pg. 10
I believe this answer to this question is no. Our society as for functional demands but it is
different in all communities. One city is not the same as the next, just as one state is not
the same as another. There are different types of dialects and social norms you must know
going from place to place this makes the functional demands different in these places as
well. The functional demands for literacy will be much different in a high-income town
compared to a rural low-income low populated town. The matter of the fact is that
everyone is different so functional demand between communities and cultural groups are
different as well.
During World War I, a fourth grade education was considered sufficient to render one
literate; in 1947, a US Census sample survey raised that figure to five years; and by 1952
six years of school was considered the minimal literacy threshold. Pg. 10
This quote basically says that people over time may not necessarily be getting smarter but
standards have gotten higher. When my dad was a kid it was not odd for someone not to
go to college, he was the first of 6 to go to college out of his family. Now a day everyone
goes to college. It is considered strange for someone not to go to college now. There is not
much that can be done in the workforce without a college diploma that pays well today,
but a long time ago plenty of people could get jobs with no diploma.
Literacy as Power
Historically, literacy has been a potent tool in maintaining the hegemony of elites and
dominant classes in certain societies, while laying the basis for increased social and
political participation in other. Pg. 11
This quote states that overtime literacy has been a tool and a powerful one at that. This
quote is very true with sufficient evidence to back it up. In history great rulers and
powerful people were for the most part literate, this is because knowledge is power. These
things that people did could not have been done if they were not smart and able to
communicate well with others. Do you think Hitler could have almost taken over the world
if he completely illiterate, very unlikely. Knowledge is power and power is the key being
Effective literacy education, in his view, creates a critical consciousness through which a
community can analyze its conditions of social existence and engage in effective action for
a just society. Pg. 12
This quote speaks to me by saying everyone deserves the opportunity to learn and be
literate. It is an important skill to have and learning is an opportunity everyone should
have and needs to have. Effective literacy education for everyone, if the entire world
100% was literate, it would most likely cut down on things like crime and unemployment
because people, communities would be better off.
Literacy as a State of Grace
An individual who is illiterate, is bound to concrete thinking and cannot learn new
material. Pg. 14
A person that is illiterate simply does not have any of the same opportunities as a literate
person. An illiterate person cannot be the CEO of a company but a literate person can, an
illiterate person cannot even write sentences down on person and literate person can.
There is so much an illiterate person cannot do and opportunities missed over something
that a lot of people do every day and dont even think about, speak and write.
Although evidence is accumulating refuting this view, the notion that literacy per se
creates a great divide in intellectual abilities between those who have and those who have
no mastered written language pg.14
I agree with this quote a lot because there really is such a large gap between being literate
and illiterate. It is much more than good and bad, in this progressing day and age it could
almost be life or death. Having a minimum wage job or having a career. Being able to
meet people make friends, do things in social situations and not being able to. One is good
and one is bad but it is so much more than simply those two.