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Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century: The Literary Agenda

Maryanne Wolf

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Oxford University Press
27 July 2016
Psycholinguistics; Literary studies: general; Cultural studies; Cognition & cognitive psychology
The Literary Agenda is a series of short polemical monographs about the importance of literature and of reading in the wider world and about the state of literary education inside schools and universities. The category of "the literary" has always been contentious. What is clear, however, is how increasingly it is dismissed or is unrecognised as a way of thinking or an arena for thought. It is sceptically challenged from within, for example, by the sometimes rival claims of cultural history, contextualized explanation, or media studies. It is shaken from without by even greater pressures: by economic exigency and the severe social attitudes that can follow from it; by technological change that may leave the traditional forms of serious human communication looking merely antiquated. For just these reasons this is the right time for renewal, to start reinvigorated work into the meaning and value of literary reading.

This book wrestles with critical, timely questions for 21st-century society. How does literacy change the human brain? What does it mean to be a literate or a non-literate person in the present digital culture: for example, what will be lost in the present reading brain, and what will be gained with different mediums than print? What are the consequences of a digital reading brain for the literary mind and for writing itself? Can knowledge about the reading brain and advances in technology offer new forms of literacy and new forms of knowledge to the peoples in remote regions of the world who would never otherwise become literate? By using both research from cognitive neuroscience, psycholinguistics, child development, and education, and considering literary examples from world literature, Maryanne Wolf plots a course that seeks to preserve the deepest forms of reading from the past, while developing the cognitive skills necessary for this century's next generation.
By:   Maryanne Wolf
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 12mm
Weight:   242g
ISBN:   9780198724179
ISBN 10:   0198724179
Series:   The Literary Agenda
Publication Date:   27 July 2016
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
1: Introduction 2: The Linguist's Tale 3: A Child's Tale 4: A Neuroscientist's Tale of Words 5: The Deep Reading Brain 6: A Second Revolution in the Brain 7: A Literacy Agenda for Non-Literate Children

Reviews for Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century: The Literary Agenda

I applaud Wolf. Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century provides readers with ample background information before building up to discuss case studies that use apps and tablets as reading tools. Rather than writing off digital culture as an impediment to learning-a view that is expected and trite in today's age-Wolf argues technology's potential. It is a refreshing perspective that is sure to foment productive discussion. Ergo, I suggest Wolf's text for anyone invested in education. * Lauren Stepp, Research in Online Literacy Education (ROLE) * Essentially, the reader is here treated to two books in one-a thorough review of how deep reading and digital literacy are differently represented in the human brain, and a report on a global project to bring literacy to children (and adults) who, without mentors or teachers, would not have any other path to achieving it [...] both parts are well worth reading: erudite, well written and edited, and accessibly illustrated. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in state-of-the-art research on literacy. * Children's Literature Association Quarterly *


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