Multiliteracy French Greek Indian Spanish German Romanian American Sign Language and Braille Hebrew Chinese Multiple Languages Self-Evaluation Tips


 We live in a multiliterate world.  Here in the United States the official language is English, but different languages are a part of our lives as well.  We set out to find the printed materials in Central Alabama that represent these different languages.  Many of the items we found were part of our daily lives. 

As future teachers, we have found that multiliteracy must be part of the classroom. This can pose a problem for a monolingual teacher.  A way to incorporate diversity into the classroom is to introduce simple phrases in different languages.  We asked people within our own communities in Birmingham, AL to say "Good Morning.  How are you?" in a variety of languages.  We were surprised at how much diversity we were able to find.  The people we video taped were in our churches, work places, and university.  We hope to use this tool in our classrooms one day and encourage others to as well.


Taylor & Dorsey-Gaines (1988) categorize the types and uses of reading as:

Instrumental Reading (p124)- reading to gain information for needs and scheduling daily life (labels, telephone dials, price tags, checks, notes, school messages, directions...)

Social-Interactional Reading (p131)- reading to gain information dealing with social relationships and maintaining those relationships (greeting cards, letters from family/friends, church newsletters, letters from friends, newspaper features...)

News-related Reading (p136)- reading to gain information about local, state, and national events (newspaper, news magazines, local news items, flyers from the community...)

Recreational Reading (p138)- reading for pleasure, leisure, or fun or in planning recreational events (comics, sports section, newspapers, magazines, cartoons...)

Conformational Reading (p147)- reading to check or confirm facts or beliefs and to gain support for attitudes or beliefs already held (wills, income taxes, Bible, bills, financial records, birth certificates...)

Critical/Educational Reading (p 150)- reading to increase one's abilities, to maintain or build a career, for temporary entertainment or planning a recreational event (popular novels, nonfiction books, journal articles, textbooks/papers, brochures, ...)

Tabitha White, Becky Calvin, and Jamie Thornton

Tabitha White, Becky Calvin, and Jamie Thornton are all in Dr. Schwarzer's Developmental Reading I class at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  This website is a fullfillment of a class assignment.  It was more than an assignment though.  It taught them a great deal about the diversity and multiliteracy of their own communities.


Schwarzer, D. (2001). Noa's ark: one child's voyage into multiliteracy. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Taylor, D & Dorsey-Gaines, C. (1988). Growing up literate: learning from inner-city families. Portsmouth, NH:Heinemann.