IS 527 Literacy, Reading, and Readers

Reading and literacy play a central role in all areas of LIS, as well as in education, communication, literature, and writing studies. This course considers reading as a physical, social, and educational activity that is historically and culturally situated. It provides a multidisciplinary investigation into different forms of literacy and how people acquire them. Drawing upon scholarship in LIS, education, literature, history, sociology, psychology, and anthropology, and with special consideration given to age, gender, class, religion, and culture, we will expand upon traditional notions of literacy and explore the range of scholarly approaches to the study of literacy, reading, and readers. For assignments, students choose between an experiential track, which offers practical experience through volunteer work in a literacy tutoring position, or a scholarship track, which features a research project without a volunteer component.

Learning objectives

  • Discuss the cognitive development of children and adults, or how the brain learns to read and write.
  • Broaden our understanding of what we mean by the following commonly used terms: reading, book, text, media, literacy, literacies.
  • Challenge our contemporary, local assumptions about what reading and literacy look like, who is literate, and how we read by learning a diverse history of reading and literacy.

Recent syllabus

Textbooks and Course Materials

Available from the Illinois Union Bookstore (IUB).