The NCTE Executive Committee adopted a definition of 21st century literacies on February 15, 2008. Well, they adopted a move toward a definition, anyway.
The committee basically made a statement that as society evolves, so does the definition of literacy. Since 21st century living requires many more skills for one to be considered even functionally literate than were needed even twenty years ago, teachers need to consider expanding their notions of what it means to read and live successfully. It's great to see NCTE leading the way in getting this idea in the public consciousness.
A focus on visual and multimedia texts is also presented in the committee's statement. I think as more people peel back 20th century (or maybe even 19th century) ways of thinking, seeing, and reading, the gaphic novel is going to take a much more prominent place in education -- as a middle ground between traditional print and multimodal textuality, as an exemplar of the visual-print connection (everything's a text), and as a true art literature. By "art literature" I suggest that the graphic novel, as it helps us see that letters and forms are equally textual, all there to be read, coded, decoded, comprehended and shared, also helps us to see that our distinctions between art and literature are just as arbitrary as our distinctions between seeing the pictograph "A" as a letter -- something to be read -- but other pictorial images as illustrations to be viewed rather than read.
In other words:
Reading = reading words
Reading = reading images
Words = images
Images = texts
Reading = reading images.
Art is to be read
Literature is to be read
Reading is a specialized viewing
Viewing is a specialized reading
Reading may = viewing
Art can be read as literature
literature can be read as art
Art may = literature
Literature may = art
A Public Service Announcement! ;)
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
From the site itself: "Launchpad is a new literary and arts magazine dedicated to publishing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, book reviews, and artwork by children ages 6-12. The magazine will appear six times a year...."
Could this be a great new outlet for young students wanting to share their work in sequential art narrative? I think it has some potential!