Critical Literacy

“Read the word to read the world. ” (Freire) Being critically literate is not just about being able to understand words. It is about reading, listening, or hearing texts and coming up with your own thoughts on them. Being able to discuss your thoughts between many different people using your life and knowledge as a baseline. Critically literate citizens challenge thoughts by advocating as well as being active in their government. An activist uses literacy to critically understand and challenge social and political power.
Activist’s enjoy collaborating with other groups to change attitudes, policies, and laws. They use and interpret language to challenge and shape themselves and institutions. Illegal immigrant supporters are a good example of critical literacy. How you perceive what you read will enforce if you are on the pro- or anti- side of the debate. Asking a simple question about The United States jobs you will receive many different answers based on the knowledge and understanding of the particular person you are asking.
Some activist’s believe that illegal immigrants help the economy by working for low costs. Others believe they take U. S jobs that citizens could benefit from regardless of wage. Using the knowledge they have obtained from news casters, articles, and other people they dissect the information to come up with their stance. Activist’s then are able to knowledgeably speak out about the changes they want to achieve. The Communists Manifesto, by Karl Marx, is a critically literate book that brings to light what Marx believes as class struggles and problems of capitalism.

The book gives readers an understanding of Marx’s theories about society and politics. Bell Hooks, a feminist, feels that literacy is essential to the future of the feminist movement because the lack of reading, writing, and critical skills serves to exclude many women and men from feminist consciousness. Not only that, it excludes many from the political process and the labour market. (infed. org) Thomas Jefferson felt that “Information is the currency of democracy. ” Cutting apart the information will give you a better sense of the government and your rights.
Jefferson believed there was a correlation between literacy, citizenship and successful self-government. (Sparagana) When you are well-informed then you could be trusted with your own government. Using media outlets and websites people have the opportunity to critique news articles, get people to notice their problems, and ask government officials the questions they have. Do a search for a news outlet’s website and article after article will have a spot to post your opinion as well as question the writer’s point of view and the opinions of others who have posted.
Having the internet easily accessible makes it even easier to keep tabs on the government. Having open options to ask or write your president or any other elected official questions from the information you have obtained will make it easier to have a discussion and either change their minds or have your own changed. Being able to critically look at the texts you are able to challenge government in a way to make your own voice heard. Critical literacy is important knowledge to have.
Without it you would not be able to form your own opinions and not be able to understand the opinions of others. Having freedom of speech is a precious thing that we all should take advantage of. We are given a voice to to speak what we feel regarding every aspect of our lives. A critically literate citizen is necessary for a meaningful participation in society. Whether it is to have an in-depth discussion with your friends, writing and reading books, or watching a movie critical literacy brings meaning to your life.

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