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The Rise of Writing
Redefining Mass Literacy


  • Date Published: January 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107462113

£ 18.99

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About the Authors
  • Millions of Americans routinely spend half their working day or more with their hands on keyboards and their minds on audiences - writing so much, in fact, that they have less time and appetite for reading. In this highly anticipated sequel to her award-winning Literacy in American Lives, Deborah Brandt moves beyond laments about the decline of reading to focus on the rise of writing. What happens when writing overtakes reading as the basis of people's daily literate experience? How does a societal shift toward writing affect the ways that people develop their literacy and understand its value? Drawing on recent interviews with people who write every day, Brandt explores this major turn in the development of mass literacy and examines the serious challenges it poses for America's educational mission and civic health.

    • Goes beyond statistics by drawing on the real life experiences of 90 Americans who write every day by necessity or choice
    • Explores how writing is displacing reading in the 'literacy diets' of everyday Americans, showing readers that literacy is not declining but shifting emphasis: from reading to writing
    • Traces the rise of writing as a dominant form of labor in the New Economy and helps readers understand historical and economic developments that are changing the dynamics of mass literacy
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Based on seven years of interviewing people in workplaces, for the state, and as authors this remarkable book makes strong claims about the growing significance of writing. I was drawn into it from the first page of the introduction and just wanted to read on all the time.' David Barton, Lancaster University

    'Through fascinating case studies that range from veteran ghostwriters to aspiring young authors, Deborah Brandt documents a significant trend: many of us now spend much of our daily lives composing texts. In such a world, she cogently argues, literacy research and teaching should focus on more than just skills of reading. With her usual acumen, rigor and eloquence, she calls for expanded attention to our new society of writing. She herself helps us understand it and think about how it might flourish.' John Schilb, Indiana University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107462113
    • length: 206 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 150 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.3kg
    • contains: 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the rise of mass writing
    1. The status of writing
    2. Writing for the State
    3. Occupation: author/writing over reading in the literacy development of contemporary young adults
    4. When everybody writes
    Conclusion: deep writing

  • Author

    Deborah Brandt, University of Wisconsin, Madison
    Deborah Brandt is Professor Emerita of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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