Being literate, as defined in Webster's New World Dictionary, is "the ability to read and write" or "to be educated". By my own definition, literacy is the ability to read, write, and verbally communicate, while also comprehending those writings, verses, or phrases. However, literacy is not only reading and writing. In order for one to be considered literate in today's society, that person must possess the skill of remembering and understanding what was just said or read. Our American culture demands literacy everyday, from being able to read street signs and signals, to understanding contracts and important forms. One is no longer considered literate in American culture if they are only able to read and write what applies to their personal life. We must now be educated in cultural literacy, computer and technology literacy, and academic literacy. To function and be successful in today's ever-changing society, the average person must rise above the basic meaning of literacy and advance in their understanding of new technology, language, and speech.
Most would agree that the skill of becoming literate begins at a very young age, from repeating the Alphabet after a teacher, to learning and remembering the names of animals, to simple word pronunciation. Even in Fishman's essay "Becoming Literate: A Lesson From the Amish", it is evident that children very young were reading and writing. We, as a society, place very high standards and expectations on children, and for that matter, teenagers and adults as well. All are forced to be "up to date" in the current vernacular and writings, and their ability to read, write and understand. Experiences with becoming literate may differ from person to person depending on their family, background, and beliefs. Someone with an Amish background for example, may have memories of repeating bible verses or book phrases after an adult reads them aloud. For me personally, the... [continues]
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