Language in 21st century transformed significantly

  • 21st-century literacy no longer consists solely of the ability to infer meaning from written letters on various surfaces.
    • Nowadays, it encompasses a combination of specific skills, such as:
      • Understanding print.
      • A sense of language.
      • Recognizing discourse and text formats suitable for various contexts.
      • The conceptual model of reading
      • Lastly, but certainly not least, is the vital social aspect of language.
  • In general, it’s safe to say that reading, especially skilled reading, combines several skills and traits in one tightly woven rope:

Understanding print

  • There was a time when understanding just the alphabet was sufficient. However, with time and progress, the alphabet evolved into various fonts and print styles.
    • Letters can take any form or shape and can be found not only on the pages of a book but on almost any surface.
    • The reader must comprehend the way a word is written—its shape, boldness, whether it’s italicized or underlined.
    • What does it imply if the text is presented as a bulleted list or perhaps in the form of an outline? These are just a few ways in which print has evolved, and undoubtedly, there are many more.

A sense of language

  • Reading Plato is different from reading James Clear or any other contemporary writer. The language a writer uses is pivotal to understanding the ideas they are trying to convey.
  • It’s not just the structure of the language—phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics—that’s important. Grasping these concepts undoubtedly aids in successful reading.
  • Most scholars and teachers agree that early literacy is rooted in understanding how letters relate to sounds.
    • However, this is not enough at more advanced levels. Over time, disciplinary and academic language become significant factors in reading comprehension.
    • This implies that to understand academic or disciplinary texts, readers require specific vocabulary and language instruction.

Recognizing discourse and the text formats suitable for various contexts

  • Building one’s own vocabulary is essential for successful communication. I mentioned this earlier, and now I need to expand on this notion.
  • True language knowledge allows you to understand texts created for various discourse communities, such as: scientists, historians, chemists, mathematicians, musicians, students, teachers, directors, actors, and the list continues.
    • Each has a specific language and terminology that facilitates effortless communication within the group.
    • To illustrate further, even my close and modest community of almost six thousand has its unique jargon related to note-taking.
  • To become fluent in this kind of text, one must build a mental model of the text’s content and align it with the intended meaning of the text.
    • Here’s a simple example I often give when teaching: when asked if one should read fiction in the same manner as non-fiction, I usually say no. Non-fiction books, in most cases, follow a cause-and-effect sequence, while fiction is often narrative. This necessitates a different approach, not that it’s nonexistent, just different.
    • Scientists and historians approach texts differently. Scientists construct text concerned with understanding how the world operates and its origins. Historians aim to present information, gathered from various sources, that accurately portrays the sequence of historical events from diverse perspectives.
  • Lastly, the [[Информационный взрыв|»informational explosion»]] has highlighted the importance of discerning the credibility of a source, the authenticity of discourse, and the relevance of information to its intended field—a challenge in and of itself.

The conceptual model of reading

  • Strikingly resembles the way we work with [[Designing conceptual model|design’s conceptual models]].
    • Reading is a complicated and complex affair. It’s not enough to match letters to sounds; the journey at this point merely begins.
  • Just like design, reading has a conceptual model, which consists of several elements: previous knowledge, skills, and strategies.
    • By the way, the book I am currently writing is mostly about strategies that we should implement before, during, and after reading.
  • The initial conceptual elements support more complex reading goals. This is at the heart of the only reasonable explanation for why we read something: to extend meaning beyond basic comprehension through various texts.
    • This requires using specific strategies: inferring, elaborating, analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating, reasoning, and interpreting multiple sources of information.
    • Reflecting on the explosion of information and the state of information flow, these skills and strategies in the conceptual model of reading are essential for a 21st-century reader.
    • We haven’t touched upon the need to think [[What is rationality|rationally]] and [[Critical thinking could not be taught|critically]], which is an entirely different topic.

Social Aspect of Language

  • Perhaps one of the most important notions about reading is that it involves not only letters, sounds, morphology, and syntax, but also social interaction.r
    • In short, it’s a cultural and social construct. This, in turn, demands from the reader an understanding of the social situation or context surrounding the creation of a text.
    • Understanding the context is only the first step; thereafter, one has to learn about the history and culture of the person who wrote the text.
  • Just as a simple example, what agenda do texts written during the pandemic or the first days of SMO pursue?
    • Anyone not from that period needs to acknowledge the historical period and social events to make sense of it on a deeper level.
  • If we return to the process of reading and look at it from a social perspective, we can safely assume that it might be the grounds on which it’s possible to build an effective act of communication.
    • Talking about books expands one’s [[How to talk about books you haven’t read#The collection of inner books»|inner library]]

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