Babies and Bath Water

Kathryn Flannery


Of what value is extended reading and writing, however we might define those terms? What kinds of knowledges or know-how can we reasonably expect from extended reading and writing? Whether or not “real world” literacy involves primarily reading and writing short bits of text (through whatever modalities), to what extent should schools and universities shape curriculum to mirror the “real world” and whose “real world” gets to count? Much research in Literacy Studies has suggested that schools need to be more permeable to the larger community. But for such permeability to be productive, we would have to pay attention, in Heath’s terms, to the specificity of concrete contexts in which reading and writing take place in order to better understand the personal and communal values and purposes of different kinds of practices.


literacy studies; composition studies; literacy events

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