Literate Systems and Individual Lives

Perspectives on Literacy and Schooling

Edited by Edward M. Jennings & Alan C. Purves

Subjects: Literacy Studies
Series: SUNY series, Literacy, Culture, and Learning: Theory and Practice
Paperback : 9780791405147, 222 pages, July 1991
Hardcover : 9780791405130, 222 pages, July 1991

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Table of contents

Part I - Setting the Stage

1. Introduction
Edward M. Jennings and Alan C. Purves

2. Literacy as Culture: Emic and Etic Perspectives
Daniel Wagner

Part II - Literacy from Society's Perspective

3. Literacy, Economic Structures, and Individual and Public Policy Incentives
Douglas M. Windham

4. Literacy and the Politics of Language
Philip Foster

5. The Textual Contract: Literacy as Common Knowledge and Conventional Wisdom
Alan C. Purves

Part III - Literacy from the Individual's Perspective

6. Literacy and Individual Consciousness
F. Nyi Akinnaso

7. Becoming Literate in a Multiethnic Society
Bernardo M. Ferdman

8. Literacy and the Betterment of Individual Life
Donald A. Biggs

Part IV - The Dilemma of the School

9. Literacy in the Elementary Classroom
Sean A. Walmsley

10. Reconstructing the Classroom: Literacy and the Problem of Choice
Lil Brannon

11. Skills That Aren't Basic in a New Conception of Literacy
Catherine E. Snow and David K. Dickinson




This book raises important questions concerning the "shame" of illiteracy. What does it mean to students to be drawn into a world where family and friends cannot follow? Can the same person appear literate and illiterate at the same time? Is literacy, for that matter, an either/or condition? Does it "hurt" to be illiterate in more than one language, more than one culture? To whom can literacy education be a threat instead of a promise?

The chapters in this book confront the unknowable implication of joining literate systems, and carry us toward an understanding that can help literacy practitioners and policy-makers at local, national, and international levels to better understand the issues involved in this important area of work.

At the State University of New York at Albany, Edward M. Jennings is Assistant Professor of English and Alan C. Purves is Professor of English and Humanities and Director, Center for Writing and Literacy.


". ..a well-written and accessible introduction to issues of concern to individuals in elementary and secondary schooling, adult literacy programs, and college developmental skills departments. It promotes an essential cross-fertilization of ideas and disciplines. The authors reveal a gentle appreciation of the ways in which we take too much for granted. The gentleness, though, enhances the power of the insight. " — John Garvey, City University of New York