Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Literacies

Many years ago, when I was working as a teacher in the International School of Amsterdam, my colleague Linda Swanson and I were invited by Professor Donald Leu to present during a pre-conference at the International Reading Association.  It always amazes me, when I see his name in a publication, that he reached out to us so many years ago and thought that we had something valuable to share.  Today, I was reading Leu's definition of new literacies (already over 10 years old) as the "skills, strategies and dispositions necessary to successfully use and adapt to the rapidly changing information and communication technologies and contexts that continuously emerge in our world and influence all areas of our personal lives."  In summary, these are the reasons why Leu and his colleagues believe there are new literacies and that we need to intentionally teach them:

  • Publishing content on the internet - online reading and writing - involves texting, blogs, wikis, video, shared writing spaces and social networks.  The skills involved are more varied and multidimensional than the skills required for traditional print-based reading and writing.
  • Evaluating sources on the internet is different from evaluating sources in traditional print.
  • Knowledge and skills necessary to use the internet are still mostly overlooked in assessments and curriculums.  However it is important for educators to provide formal instruction in the new literacy skills most crucial to navigating, reading, using and evaluating information on the internet.
Photo Credit: dannymol via Compfight cc


  1. Hi Maggie,

    I've been entranced with Leu's and Coiro's work. I recently created a video to summarize some of the main ideas I've learned from their work.

    Kind regards,
    Tracy Watanabe

    1. Dear Tracy,
      Thank you so much for sharing your video. It's wonderful - very clear. I think it's so important that it needs a blog post of its own - so I'm going to add it as a separate post. Let me know if there is more about you that you want me to add as the creator of this video.
      Best wishes,

  2. Hi Maggie,

    Glad you can share it! I will be sharing it on my blog as well some time hopefully this weekend.

    I look forward to learning more with you in the future.

    Kind regards,