Literacy in American Lives

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Cambridge University Press, May 28, 2001 - History - 258 pages
4 Reviews
Literacy in American Lives traces the changing conditions of literacy learning over the past century as they were felt in the lives of ordinary Americans born between 1895 and 1985. The book demonstrates what sharply rising standards for literacy have meant to successive generations of Americans and how--as students, workers, parents, and citizens--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 start of the twenty-first century.

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Review: Literacy in American Lives

User Review  - Adam Sprague - Goodreads

In the intro, Brandt outlines what she is going to do (in immense detail). Then in the conclusion, she outlines (again) what she already talked about (in immense detail). Between those sections we ... Read full review

Review: Literacy in American Lives

User Review  - Laura May - Goodreads

Favorite book I read in grad school Read full review


ACCUMULATING LITERACY How Four Generations of One American Family Learned to Write
THE POWER OF IT Sponsors of Literacy in African American Lives
THE SACRED AND THE PROFANE Reading versus Writing in Popular Memory
THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION Literacy and Stratification at the TwentyFirst Century
Literacy in American Lives

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Page 11 - Each new cohort makes fresh contact with the contemporary social heritage and carries the impress of the encounter through life.
Page 19 - Sponsors, as I have come to think of them, are any agents, local or distant, concrete or abstract, who enable, support, teach, and model, as well as recruit, regulate, suppress, or withhold, literacy - and gain advantage by it in some way.
Page 11 - The members of any cohort are entitled to participate in only one slice of life their unique location in the stream of history. Because it embodies a temporally specific version of the heritage, each cohort is differentiated from all others, despite the minimization of variability by symbolically perpetuated institutions and by hierarchically graduated structures of authority.
Page 10 - The point is that people live their lives within the material and cultural boundaries of their time span, and so life histories are exceptionally effective historical sources because through the totality of lived experience they reveal relations between individuals and social forces which are rarely apparent in other sources. Above all, the information is historical and dynamic in that it reveals changes of experience through time, as opposed to the static analysis of social surveys and statistical...

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About the author (2001)

Deborah Brandt is Director of Intermediate Composition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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