Working Towards a
in the English Classroom:
Rethinking Concepts about
Goals and Objectives
• to reframe thinking about reading skills in
the English classroom through research
• to reframe notions of what a text is through
• to provide an opportunity to plan or rework
existing lessons with new literacy in mind
• toprovide teachers with resources on the
“...most young people need much
more experience than they
currently get in the use of visual
images as means of expression,
communication, and exploration.”
Paul Messaris, University of Penn.
Why are we Rethinking
Ways of Reading?
• because traditional concepts of
reading involve the printed word
• andprint media are becoming less
important in the communication of
messages for our students
• and communication is primarily a
Activity: With your copy of William
Faulkner’s novel, The Sound and the
Fury, begin reading Chapter 1
making note of the meaning.
Be prepared to discuss what is
happening in the narrative.
Reading in Hypertext
• Activity: at your computer, go to http:
www.usask.ca/english/faulkner/ and read the
same text of Chapter 1
• What happens to your reading of the
traditional print text compared with the
same words in this hypertext?
Reading a Short Film
Activity: At your computer, watch
the following narrative, a short
ﬁlm, and for discussion purposes
focus on the way the narrative
“How They Get There” by Spike Jonze
How does the narrative of this
What is the message or the theme
of this text?
Comment on the similarities and
differences of reading a traditional
print text, and reading this ﬁlm.
Changing Concepts of
Reading and Writing
Activity: At your computer, read the
articles at following sites, and be
prepared to discuss your reading.
Evolving Thoughts Towards a
The ways in which language is used
changes with the form of the
medium, or the container of the
Technological change has created
new containers of language.
a New Literacy on Teaching
If language use has changed, and
the containers of language have
changed, then the skills required to
read that language must also have
A Slide show within
a Slide show......
Activity: At your computer, watch
“Literacy (r)evolutions” by Jess Laccetti
slideshare. Stop before viewing the
concluding short ﬁlm, “Web 2.0...”
• Discuss and critically evaluate your reading
of this text with the whole group.
The New Literacy in a
Activity: Before viewing “ Web 2.0 ...
The Machine is Us/ing Us” complete
the Previewing Questions on your
handout. At the conclusion of
“Literacy (r)evolutions”, click on this
film, then complete the post-viewing
questions, and be prepared to
discuss your reading of the film.
Towards a New Literacy in the
The containers of
changed, so the
have changed to
Readers need to
understand how to
critically read visual
content. They need
instruction in visual
What do you read from
this visual text?
Reading as a Visual System:
Visual Literacy in the
In groups of three, divide the reading of:
“The Visual Literacy White Paper”
“Through a Class Darkly:Visual Literacy in the
“Visual Communication as a Primary System”.
• skim the articles
• discuss and summarize interesting points
• brainstorm ideas for ways to class
visual literacy into an English
• present your ideas to the whole group
Visual Literacy in Your
Activity: At your computer visit some of the
following sites, and develop a personalized
plan to implement visual literacy according to
your current lesson plans and comfort level.
Web sites on Visual Literacy
• http://www.fno.org/PL/vislit.htm - a student
• http://www.ivla.org/portal/intro.htm - a
collection of links from the International
Visual Literacy Association
vlehome.html - an online exercise for
The New Literacy from a
Activity: With a partner, visit the following site
and click the mouse to move from frame to
frame, reading as you move.
How many popular culture references, or
allusions that can you identify in this text?
Ending at the Beginning:
Concluding Thoughts on
a New Literacy
in the English Classroom
As teachers of language, we need
to rethink the use of language in
order to give our students the skills
to read the past and the present.
The conventions of language have
changed with new containers of
Reading in hypertext is not the
same reading skill as reading a
Films and photographs are texts
that need to be read.
Visual Literacy is a skill that moves
students towards the new literacy,
toward the critical reading of the
world around them.
“Our habit of thinking of
communication as consisting
exclusively of language has delayed
the study of communication.”
Artwork by Jayne Wilson,
“Do you say it best when you
say nothing at all” 2005
Thank you for viewing, for listening,
and for reading as we move towards
a New Literacy both inside and
outside the English classroom.
By Melanie White
Prepared for Nipissing University, Honours Specialist
English: Supervisor, Robert Brady