From the cover:

Literacy can empower students, but it may also limit their understanding if taught without regard for the context of their lives. Using his encounters with students--in high school, college, and state prison classrooms--as well as his own experience, Robert Yagelski looks at the sometimes ambiguous role of literacy in our lives and examines the mismatch between conventional approaches to teaching literacy and the literacy needs of students in a rapidly changing, increasingly technological world. He asserts that, ultimately, the most important job of the English teacher is to reveal to students ways they can participate in the discourses that shape their lives, and he offers a timely look at how technology has influenced the way we write and read.

The scope of this fascinating book reaches beyond the classroom and offers insight about what it means to be "literate" in an economically driven, dynamic society. Addressing earlier works on the subject of literacy, as well as the ideas of theorists such as Foucault, this perceptive work has much to offer educators and anyone seeking to understand the nature of literacy itself.


"Deeply grounded in the real life literacy acts if individuals, Literacy Matters offers a refreshing alternative to some of the professional jargon that has come to characterize the dominant ideologies in classrooms . . . . Yagelski's stories offer concrete suggestions to make literacy matter to students and teachers and prisoners and all who might find a way to give voice to their individual lives through local acts of literacy."
Margaret Finders, Purdue University

"Yagelski helps us see that literacy in all its complexity is not just a means to something else--whether the refinement of taste, personal growth, job mobility, the practice of citizenship--but is itself a sufficient center for secondary and postsecondary studies. To my mind, the major contribution of Literacy Matters is Yagelski's argument for a curriculum and pedagogy that explore the ambivalent and powerful roles that literacy plays in all of our lives."
John Trimbur, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Literacy Matters: Writing and Reading the Social Self. New York, NY: Teachers College Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8077-3892-1


Read the Table of Contents.

 Read Chapter 1, "Abby's Lament: Does Literacy Matter?"

Order Literacy Matters.

Return to Bob Yagelski's web vita.

Return to Bob Yagelski's homepage.

This page last updated 5 February 2000.