The Culture and Politics of Literacy

The Culture and Politics of Literacy

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Recent books have sounded the alarm about the ever-growing problem of illiteracy in the United States, and others have suggested ways to reverse the trend. Here W. Ross Winterowd, the author of a dozen books on composition and language, offers the most comprehensive account to date of the development, politics, and cultural significance of literacy. What is literacy? Is it the ability to read a prescription bottle, or is it the ability to critically evaluate the substance of a newspaper article? Winterowd points out that literacy is the key to political access to society--a powerful tool that many of us may take for granted. But as the book makes clear, there are millions of Americans left on the periphery of culture and politics, unable to pursue the American promise of bettering oneself through education. For these people, the inability to read and write means never being able to participate fully in society. It is therefore important, especially considering the magnitude of the literacy problem in the U.S. today, to understand just how people acquire these skills, how they affect an individual's ability to think, and how literacy changes society, culturally and economically. Winterowd details the history and politics of literacy and explains how the withholding of these skills has been used as a means of social control. He gives a fascinating explanation of how people actually learn to read and write (and why some don't), highlighting his discussion with examples from student papers and a variety of published material. He concludes with a critical discussion of the various educational methods currently in use, and suggests how they can be improved. For the parent whose child is struggling with reading and writing, The Culture and Politics of Literacy helps explain this widespread problem and suggests what can be done to solve it. For anyone concerned with educational policy at the local, state, or national level, it provides the background necessary to make informed decisions; and for those preparing to be educators, the book offers a theoretical background for understanding reading and writing that will be an invaluable aid in teaching. Finally, anyone who wants to find out how written language works as a means of communication and an instrument of thought will find this book enlightening. No other book deals with as many aspects of literacy as this one, or reveals as clearly the social and political contexts that affect it. The Culture and Politics of Literacy offers a wealth of information on and insight into a timely and important subject.show more

Product details

  • Hardback
  • 142.24 x 213.36 x 27.94mm | 476.27g
  • OXFORD UNIV PR
  • English
  • 0195057082
  • 9780195057089

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