The Routledgefalmer Reader in Literacy

The Routledgefalmer Reader in Literacy

The Routledgefalmer Reader in Literacy

The Routledgefalmer Reader in Literacy


In this essential collection of readings, Teresa Grainger provides carefully chosen journal articles and chapters that offer significant and serious insights into the changing face of literacy. The twenty-five contributors all adopt a broad conception of literacy and contemporary literacy practices and recognise that the world of language and literacy is in a constant state of transition and transformation. Together, the authors examine the past, the present and the future of literacy and celebrate the interests and expertise of the learners. They acknowledge that the textual environments of today are complex and fluid, shaped by the rapid emergence of new technologies and the influential nature of popular culture. Children's engagement with multiple forms of text is also highlighted, including the oral, the visual, the electronic and the written. In addition, issues of pedagogy are explored, through the voices of teachers, parents and children. Many chapters offer particular perspectives based on classroom experience, reflection and smaller scale studies The contributors here perceive a common and urgent need to acknowledge diverse forms of living literacy and to redesign the curriculum accordingly. With an inspiring introduction and postscript by the Editor, this Reader will be an invaluable and accessible companion for all students of literacy.


Teresa Grainger

The window looked strange in the dazzling air of the desert, giving on to the deep-shaded bush, a square of thick vegetation hanging in the air like a painting. The Gallivespians wanted to look at it, and were astounded to see how it was just not there from the back, and how it only sprang into being when you came round from the side.

'I'll have to close it when we're through' Will said.

Lyra tried to pinch the edges together, but her fingers couldn't find it at all; nor could the spies, despite the fineness of their hands. Only Will could feel exactly where the edges were, and he did it cleanly and quickly.

'How many worlds can you enter with the knife?' said Tialys.

'As many as there are out there' said Will. 'No one would ever have time to find out'.

(The Amber Spyglass, Pullman, 2000:182)

In The Amber Spyglass, the last of Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials, Lyra and Will travel through many worlds searching first for Roger and later for their beloved daemons. On their travels they meet old friends, like Iorek Byrnison, the armoured bear, and make new ones, such as the dragonfly Gallivespians and the mulefa, wheeled creatures with the power to see dust. These allies widen their vision, help them see the world more clearly and challenge their previous knowledge and understanding.

Similarly, in this book, the reader may become a traveller, traversing different domains as they search for meaning in the complex and challenging world of language and literacy. The research, conceptual understanding and scholarship of the expedition guides may affirm or extend the understanding of those who travel alongside. Much will depend upon the resources in the backpacks of the itinerant readers, their openness to new terrain, and their ability to develop a dialogue with the team. Philip Pullman himself reflects that a good way of working is to 'read like a butterfly and write like a bee'.

Let yourself be beguiled by a pretty shape or be blown sideways by a wayward breeze, and flit from book to book, subject to subject, idea to idea, place to place, picking up whatever nectar you can find.

(Pullman, 2002:23)

I invite the interested reader to take flight as a butterfly, to be beguiled and settle wherever they will. In selecting articles for this RoutledgeFalmer Reader, I have flitted from book to book, from journal to journal and from theme to theme, re-reading avidly, regularly altering the eighteen permissible chapters, and restructuring sections in response to the emerging themes and my colleagues' views. This preparation for the expedition has been a fascinating

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