6650 Intro to Literacy Studies: Literacy Narrative




“My Digital Literacy Journey”

The approach to my narrative was guided by a decision to focus on digital literacy rather than literacy.  Two viewpoints steered me away from recounting how I learned to read and write.  First, my acquisition of literacy did not originate from a deficit perspective.  Vivian Johnson emphasizes literacy experiences of the four African American women referred to in her article “Literacy Sponsorship, Beliefs and Practices Among Selected Urban African American Women” started from a deficit position (Johnson 51).  Second, I considered Morris Young’s assertion in the chapter titled “Reading Literacy Narratives: Connecting Literacy, Race, and Citizenship Through the Stories of Others” from his book Minor Re/Visions: Asian Literacy Narratives as a Rhetoric of Citizenship.   I found one statement from the work to be problematic yet applicable to my situation: “…African Americans appear more firmly located in American culture as citizens… (Young 57).”  The “citizenship” part of Young’s statement is problematic for me because I, an African American woman, grew up during segregation when the education system in America was separate but certainly not equal.  African American citizens weren’t afforded the same rights and privileges as White citizens in this nation’s education system.  However, I was not deprived of an opportunity to acquire literacy in my home because it was embedded in our daily lives by my parents.  I could read and write at third-grade level before I entered first grade at age five.  Therefore, I chose to share my digital literacy experience because challenges in digital learning persist in my life.

I considered it an advantage to be in my twenties and a member of the workforce at the inception of the computer age and attempted to convey in my narrative that I had both access and resources to become computer literate.  That mindset prompted a reexamination of the article “Digital Literacy in Rural Women’s Lives” by Jennie Vaughn, et al, because access and the digital divide were addressed (Vaughn, et al 26-46).  In retrospect, it may be inferred from my narrative that a self-imposed gap existed despite my access to technology.  Although I readily grasped use of latest and greatest digital advances in my work life, I refrained from using them in my home life even when being employed accorded me resources to afford them.

Being mindful of class discussion emanating from review of narratives in the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives, I made every effort to adequately convey digital learning activities without subscribing to the literacy myth in composing my own narrative.  Upon review of the presentation, I’m now aware my narrative reveals traces of the myth unveiled in Krista Bryson’s article “The Literacy Myth in the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (Bryson 254-268).”  The upwardly mobile function of digital literacy to advancement in the workplace exposes my view that obtaining and maintaining digital literacy was fundamental to my own economic success.  A willingness to ensure my children had access to digital technology in the home for their success in education and future economic advantage further endorses adherence to the literacy myth.  American society is so entrenched in digital technology, it is difficult, though perhaps not impossible, to deny a culture of subscribing to the literacy myth that being technologically savvy is paramount to successfully functioning in most aspects of our daily lives.

Unlike literacy (learning to read and write) which is relatively finite, digital literacy seems to know no end.  Once you learn to read with comprehension and write with effective communication skills, you’re set.  On the other hand, when you learn one aspect of digital technology, an advance requiring additional learning crops up.

My narrative presentation represents a such a learning challenge.  I had no problem converting PowerPoint presentations to video several times over the past three or four years.  When I tried to do so with my narrative, error messages kept appearing to the degree I gave up converting it because time was of the essence.  As I berated myself for giving up, I simultaneously consoled myself with the notion that it’s part of a pervasive learning process.

Works Cited

Bryson, Krista. “The Literacy Myth in the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives.” Computers and Composition, vol. 29, 2012, pp. 254-68.

Johnson, Vivian. “Literacy Sponsorship, Beliefs and Practices Among Selected Urban African American Women.” Literacy as Gendered Discourse: Engaging the Voices of Women  in Global Societies, edited by Daphne Williams Ntiri, Information Age, 2015, pp. 35-56.

Vaughn, Jennie, Allen Harrell, and Amy Dayton. “Digital Literacy in Rural Women’s Lives.” Community Literacy Journal, vol. 9, no. 2, 2015, pp. 26-47.

Young, Morris. Minor Re/Visions: Asian American Literacy Narratives as a Rhetoric of Citizenship. Southern Illinois UP, 2004.