Horning, Alice S.
November 2004
Reading Matrix: An International Online Journal;Nov2004, Vol. 4 Issue 3, p134
Academic Journal
The whole "information economy" relies on literacy, and increasingly, on the expansion of these skills to a level of critical literacy on paper as well as on screens. My definition of this needed critical literacy as the ability to produce and perceive meaning in these venues and use that meaning to analyze, synthesize and evaluate information shows its reliance on a common core of abilities and features. The underlying cognitive abilities and four levels of literacy are not any different for Generation 1.5 learners than for other individuals, whether they are developing critical literacy in their native language or a second language. And while there may be some additional features (like sounds and images) in a digital environment, the essential cognitive skills and levels of language are also constant. Despite these shared features, there are currently far too many illiterate people on the planet, and the problem of illiteracy in both print and digital contexts appears in developed and developing countries, in American college classrooms and in the Third World. However, if critical literacy is appropriately defined, then language users who achieve it are at the summit of human language ability, regardless of whether the venue is print or electronic.


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