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AuthorDeborah Brandt
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication Date30/Jan/10
Book DescriptionThis book traces the changing conditions of literacy learning over the past century as they were felt in the lives of Americans born between 1895 and 1985. The book demonstrates what sharply rising standards for literacy have meant to successive generations of Americans and how they have responded to rapid changes in the meaning and methods of literacy learning in their society. Drawing on more than 80 life histories of Americans from all walks of life, the book addresses critical questions facing public education at the twenty-first century: What role does economic change play in creating inequality in access and reward for literacy? What is the human impact of the economy's growing reliance on the literacy skills of workers? This book gets beyond the usual laments about the crisis in literacy to offer an often surprising look into the ways that literacy is lived in America.
Editorial ReviewLiteracy in American Lives is a meaningful contribution to the field of literacy and an important and necessary read for students of literacy history, researchers and theoreticians, leaders in the literary associations, and legislative policy makers. Journal of Literacy Research "In Literacy in American Lives, Deborah Brandt raises the bar for the sound understanding of literacy at the end of the millennium. She does this by embedding her understanding--and ours--in an impressive blend of interdisciplinary approach and perspective; historical and cultural contextualization; and humane passion for her subject, the individual lives whose narratives undergird and mediate her interpretation, and all of our hopes and needs for the 21st century. Her treatment is fresh and original. Professors and educators across disciplines and institutions should read Literacy in American Lives. But its combination of sane argument and methodological rigor on a topic where commentators can succumb to excess calls out to readers beyond the academy." Harvey J. Graff, University of Texas at San Antonio "This book makes a significant contribution to literacy studies, and it deserves to be widely read. Brandt pushes us to reconsider many settled assumptions about how people learn to read and write, and she does it in lyrical prose that is a pleasure to read. I expect that we will be talking about and following the lead of her work for a long time." Rhetoric Review
Number of Pages272

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