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Stephen Fischerkeller
Nancy Roche
Writing 1010-013
8 October 2014
The practice of literacy through the eyes of Barton and Hamilton
Barton and Hamiltons Literacy Practices discusses different aspects of literacy how it
is involved in everyday life, and how it as changed over time. (Barton and Hamilton 8) The
essay discusses specific literacy events that have taken place over the years along with how
literacy is involved in social practices and explores the idea that literacy takes place mainly in
different domains of life. (Barton and Hamilton 9) They also talk of how literacy is historically
situated and discuss how literacy changes throughout time and that people can adapt to it through
sense making and informal learning. (Barton and Hamilton 9) This meaning that by listening and
learning from a teacher or a superior you can a lot about literacy. Literacy is involved in life and
has different aspects to it, however it all comes back to written text.
Literacy can be identified through social practices and events which can show how
reading and writing are related to literacy practices and you can witness these events through
everyday life. (Barton and Hamilton 8) The meaning of these events is that written text is central
to the specific event so, even though literacy can present itself through a certain everyday event
in life that doesnt mean that its origin does not come from written text. Literacy can be
presented in numerous different ways but it is always centralized though written text. (Barton
and Hamilton 8) Written text in so many things can be seen as literacy, just look at the directions

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to a new video game. Even though one may not think about it too often that is a perfect example
of literacy in written text.
This brings us to the idea of Literacy Practices. Literacy Practices, put simply, are the
ways people use literacy in their lives. (Barton and Hamilton 13) Literacy events in life are
typically every day events or activities that are repeated over and over again which can be a part
of a certain routine, typically involving a workplace or school. (Barton and Hamilton 10) or
instance, a typical high school student has English class every day in which the teacher can
express literacy in countless different ways. Still, even in these situations written text is still the
origin. In many literacy events there are usually several forms of reading and writing and Barton
and Hamilton speak of how most events come from written text but the people involved typically
take that and change it into written language. (Barton and Hamilton 11) This means that a
person will speak using the written language instead of sitting down and actually reading
something. It is a way of taken the written language and presenting it to others. An example of
this would be a school teacher. They are sophisticated and able to teach by speaking the written
language, however the origin of what they are teaching comes from a specific written text.
Literacy is used in a structured, patterned context called a domain. (Barton and Hamilton
11) Particular institutions have created specific things or places where literacy is to be used.
This meaning that they want you to use it in a specific way and it can be involved with
interaction with your family or friends. This also comes back to the idea of social institutions
and how they are involved in literacy. Socially powerful institutions, such as education, tend to
support dominant literacy practices. These dominant practices can be seen as part of whole
discourse formations, institutionalized configurations of power and knowledge which are

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embodied in social relationships. (Barton and Hamilton 12) The meaning of this is that
education is meant to teach kids how to be sophisticated and powerful in order to someday
ultimately lead or society. Aside from dominant literacies there are what is called Vernacular
Literacies and you can have both of these. (Barton and Hamilton 12) When studying literacies
you need to read and write which can teach you not only about literacy, but how it is used. Even
if there are different domains of literacy and different types of it all comes back to the origin of
written text.
Throughout Barton and Hamiltons Literacy Practices the idea of literacy in everyday
life is discussed. (Barton and Hamilton 9) Several different ideas and examples of this are
discussed and explained to support this idea, from social events to teaching a classroom of
students it is showed how literacy is involved in everyday society. Throughout world history
literacy has evolved and changed in different ways. Different domains are meant to teach
literacy in different ways, whether it be dominant or vernacular. Literacy practices and events
have also shaped literacy into what is today and without this we would not have literacy as we
know it today. Social practices which can be very wide in range also have to do with todays
Literacy but at the end of the day it all comes back to written text.

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Barton, David, Mary Hamilton, and oz vani . Situated Literacies: Reading and Writing
in Context. London: Routledge, 2000. Print.