Reconceptualizing the Literacies in Adolescents' Lives: Bridging the Everyday/Academic Divide

By Donna E. Alvermann; Kathleen A. Hinchman | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Shop-worn, maybe. But this maxim warrants some consideration, especially when used to reference the spirit in which six classroom teachers and a school media specialist accepted our invitation to respond to the third edition of Reconceptualizing the Literacies in Adolescents’ Lives. Our invitation could not have arrived at a more inauspicious time. For two of the seven, a heavy coaching load had added considerably to the stress of closing out a school year. For two others, the invitation led to an unanticipated springbreak project, and for the remaining three, it simply served as a reminder that teachers do not receive gold stars for authoring chapters when high stakes testing is in full swing. Yet, to a person, the response was, “Yes, I’m in — you can count on me.” And count we did. Some lively and insightful writing began arriving from the field, signaling once again that educators in the so-called trenches are not easily stymied.

Nor have zealously administered, achievement-directed policies squelched the passion and sophisticated, situated literacies celebrated throughout this text and two earlier editions. The text’s three iterations actually align with the life span of much recent school reform. The first edition (Alvermann, Hinchman, Moore, Phelps, & Waff, 1998) was written as U.S. states and school districts responded to Goals 2000, federal legislation requiring states to develop “clear and rigorous standards for what every child should know and be able to do” with “district-wide planning and implementation of school improvement efforts focused on improving student achievement to those standards” (United States Department of Education, 1998). This edition explored generative sociocultural aspects of adolescents’ literacies, along with instructional moves suggested by these explorations. So that instructional ideas would be valued as realistic by teachers grappling with the turn-of-the-century focus on achievement, chapter authors revised

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