For this assignment, identify a community you are a current or former member of, or a community you interact with either through writing, reading, participating, or more. This can be a social club (book club), a school club (band, sports), or something less official (comic book fan, sneakerhead). It might also be a fan base you identify with (Trekkies, Potterheads, Los Angeles Dodgers, etc.), or a disciplinary community (such as sociology, nursing, or business). Additionally, it might be united in your love of coffee, dogs, or a specific genre of art. Your goal is to develop working definitions of literacy, literacy practices, and literacy events based on your community, then consider what it means to approach literacy as a social practice in this community. In preparation for this essay, you should reflect upon your initial understanding of these concepts and the specific, extensive ways the assigned readings in Chapter 1 disrupted previous expectations.
In a short paper (3-5 pages) or multimedia equivalent, identify one community and describe concretely the literacies this group uses. For instance, you might describe the answers to some of these questions: Does your community write within the group? Do you read certain texts? How do you communicate with each other? In what languages, through which platforms? Through what symbols or sayings? In this project, you should connect this group to the idea of literacy as you’ve come to understand it. What does literacy look like for a Potterhead? A Dodgers fan? What knowledges about sayings, terms, clothing, etc. do you need to have to know you’re part of this community?
Here, you might also identify the assumptions or misconceptions you encountered from non-members or even yourself as an emerging member. For example: What did people outside the band think about band members? What do readers of traditional books think about comic book fans? What codes or communication methods exist to this group that outsiders might not understand? Try not to generalize here. Instead, you might your experience with the group to refute any assumptions with firsthand evidence, or attempt to rebrand these labels through an explanation of the group as you experienced it.
Be sure to include a separate glossary where you define any terms specific to your community that general readers might not know. This section does not count as a page in your essay, but as a supplement. For example, consider terms new to you when you were joining this group. After each definition, give a short 1–2 sentence reflection on why this term matters to your community. What does knowing this term allow you to do in the community, or what impact might it have?
Remember, you should draw extensively from the course readings and concepts in order to show how you are understanding literacy connected to your own community. Use MLA citations throughout your paper.
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