Reading Alexander

Reading Alexander

Alexander took over 700 essays on literacy and broke them up into eight categories. The most common theme that she was able to place a literacy narrative into was “Success.” That was when a story linked their success with liberation and development. Every category was listed with an explanation of what it meant and how it was linked and while every story could have multiple categories, she limited it to only one. These categories were known as a whole as the cultural narratives in student essays. Something that would be a link between all stories.

She also began to talk about master and little narratives. Master narratives were more uniform than unique. The stories were conventional, institutionalized. While little narratives were more ‘local.’ They focused on the individual, on the experiences that would challenge the master.

In the end she focused on the impact that having a view of success would impact our reading thought. She claims it ruins the practice for pleasure and leaves an individual views reading as a practicality.

Then again, as she points out, the assignment often leads the individual to thinking that the teacher wants a success story. It would help to understand why 98% had a successful theme in the story.

She sums up her essay by noting the importance of bringing more attention to little and master narratives. That the more awareness that they have the deeper that children will be able to go in terms of understanding literacy.

It’s true that before reading this, I had never heard of little and master narratives. Those were new terms, by name. The ideas behind them were somewhat familiar though. There are those ideas that are uniform and those are that are not. It is important to notice a difference between the two. I find that the stories that are more ‘little’ come from the people that have more creativity and individuality.

There are some points in her writing that I disagree with, mostly her points where she begins to talk about success  and practicality getting in the way of pleasure and how seeing reading as a necessity is a limiting point.

Nowadays, reading is a necessity. You can’t function in today’s world without being able to read. That doesn’t stop others from reading for pleasure.

Alexander makes many points throughout her writing and research which are practical and understandable to the point where they will influence how i look at the literacy narratives that I am reading. Her system of categorizing, though not perfect, is a good way to start. And incorporating her ideas of little and master narratives would give a better understanding to the process of literacy.

One thought on “Reading Alexander

  1. Hi Cali, is Alexander herself arguing that reading for practical reasons gets in the way of reading for pleasure? Or is she pointing to an element of a cultural narrative of literacy that she finds in student writing? This is where having a page reference to the passage you’re critiquing would help me figure out the answer to my question.

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