Read e-book online Before Writing: Rethinking the Paths to Literacy PDF

By Gunther Kress

ISBN-10: 0415138051

ISBN-13: 9780415138055

Gunther Kress argues for an intensive reappraisal of the phenomenon of literacy, and as a result for a profound shift in academic perform. via shut realization to the plethora of items which youngsters continuously produce--drawings, cut-outs, writings and collages-- Kress indicates a suite of ideas which display the underlying coherence of children's actions-- activities which enable us to attach them with makes an attempt to make which means earlier than they collect language and writing.

This e-book offers primary demanding situations to ordinarily held assumptions approximately either language and literacy and notion and motion. It locations those demanding situations in the context of hypothesis in regards to the skills in an effort to turn into crucial for kids as teenagers, and demands the unconventional decentering of language in academic concept and perform.

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Additional resources for Before Writing: Rethinking the Paths to Literacy

Sample text

For a child in the pre-school years, there is both more and less freedom of expression. More, because they have not yet learned to confine their meaning-making to the culturally and socially facilitated materials, forms and media. And to the extent that they are unaware of conventions surrounding the making of signs, they are freer in that respect. They have less freedom because they do not have the rich cultural semiotic (meaningmaking) resources available for their making of signs. So for instance, when a child, labouring to climb a steep slope, said This is a heavy hill’, he is constrained by not having the word steep as an available semiotic resource.

When asked why he had made it shiny, the child said: ‘Oh because I like it like that, it has to be like that’ Clearly, special effort has gone into producing the effect of glossy paintwork. The only technological gadgetry that remains are the two ‘legs’ below the car which, it appears from the sign-maker’s spoken description, can be lowered in order to lift the car above obstacles on the road ahead, such as trucks for instance. The car’s black logo, M, is on a tailfin, which lends a jet-like appearance to this car.

It gets its focus from factors in the environment in which the sign is being made. We never represent ‘the whole object’ but only ever certain criterial aspects. Even in highly realistic adult representations only certain selected aspects are represented—never ‘the whole thing’. Signs are metaphors in many ways. In the car example there are two steps: (a) ‘a car is (most like) wheels’; and (b) ‘wheels are (most like) circles’. These structures are established by analogy. Hence the result is a (double) metaphor: circles are ((like) wheels; wheels are (defining of)) a car.

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Before Writing: Rethinking the Paths to Literacy by Gunther Kress

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