Directions: Choose a couple of questions that seem interesting to you. Jot down some notes about your answer.
Be prepared to share your ideas with your classmates.
- What are the earliest memories you have of speaking, reading, or writing? What are the contexts in which they occurred?
- What communities do you belong to? Describe the people who belong to them. How would you describe their way of talking? What kinds of skills (verbal or otherwise) are important to these communities?
- What texts have been most important to you? Why were they important? Are they still important? Why or why not?
- What community or communities do you feel like you have literacy in? Describe how you became literate and/or learned to understand the most effective language or behaviors in that community.
- Can you think of a time when you realized that you did not have the literacy necessary to participate fully in a particular community? (Do you remember ever joining a conversation and not knowing what to say?) Describe how you felt.
- When have you been encouraged to become literate in a particular community?â€¯ Who encouraged you to do so, and what do you think their motives were?
- Identify some of the communities in which you have tried to become literate.â€¯ Why did you want to become literate in these communities?
- Literacy is often associated with power.â€¯ As Anzaldua and Tan point out, some kinds of literacy are more valued than others.â€¯ The kind of language you speak can affect the way people treat you and how you form your identity. Have you ever had a similar experience with learning a new kind of literacy?â€¯ If so, describe the connections you see between literacy and power.
- Malcolm X’s narrative highlights how literacy has helped him deal with private ghosts and demons as well as larger communities and public politics.â€¯ In your experience, how has literacy been both a way of expressing your own personality as well as a way to participate in certain communities or groups?â€¯ Has becoming literate ever brought these two parts of your life into tension?