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Multiple Literacies

What different kinds of literacy are there?

Why - and how - should they be taught to students?

This page takes a look at various types of literacy beyond the traditional understanding of literacy as the ability to read and write. Research and resources are also provided.


New Research Spotlight:

"[I]nformation literacy skills are necessary to increase student success. As a school initiates a change toward embedding information literacy skills, it needs to include direct input from multiple stakeholders. The survey results indicate teachers believe the role of offering professional development for these skills belongs to school librarians. The results reveal that teachers need more time in their day to collaborate with school librarians on information literacy embedded lessons. Administration must limit additional duties and allow multiple prep times to allow teachers this time to collaborate" (p. 22, emphasis added).

Crary, S. (2019). Secondary teacher perceptions and openness to change regarding instruction in information literacy skills. School Library Research, 22. Retrieved from

Information Lit Skills research.jpg
digital cit research.jpg

New Research Spotlight:

"Digital citizenship instruction is more than simply providing prepackaged lesson plans, handouts, and worksheets about digital etiquette, Internet safety, and cyberbullying. Instruction in digital citizenship involves education—for educators and their students—about the new literacies that are in action when engaging online. This instruction also requires constant attention to the changing nature of digital environments. ... Collaboration between teachers, school librarians, and administrators dominated the suggestions for improvements to digital citizenship education. ... Ideally, school librarians can serve in a leadership role in the effort to achieve a focused approach to how digital citizenship can be incorporated into the curriculum." (p. 12, emphasis added).

Phillips, A. L., & Lee, V. R. (2019). Whose responsibility is it? A statewide survey of school librarians on responsibilities and resources for teaching digital citizenship. School Library Research, 22. Retrieved from

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“When school librarians teach research and inquiry processes, we are building students' skills of reading thoughtfully and with purpose” (Morris, 2013, p. 8). It is too easy to compartmentalise and separate literacy from research skills.

Morris, R. (2013). Let’s read it all together: Developing the literacy team. Library Media Connection, 32(3), 8-10.

Shelow, G. (2016). The importance of new literacy skills in the 21st century classroom. Retrieved from

Kinzer, C., & Leu, D. (2016). New Literacies and new literacies within changing digital environments. 1-7. DOI: 10.1007/978-981-287-532-7_111-1.  Retrieved from

Kist, W. (2013). New literacies and the Common Core. Technology-Rich Learning, 70(6), p. 38-43.

Retrieved from

Miners, Z., & Pascopella, A. (2007). The new literacies. Retrieved from

Paying Attention to Literacy document from the Ontario Ministry of Education (2013) provides some great quotations and definitions, such as ““Multiliterate, creative and innovative people are now seen as the drivers of the 21st century…” (p. 2)

The opening quotations under each point in the Ontario Ministry of Education (2013) could be great for this purpose. I would also use this as a way to promote my willingness to collaborate with teachers.

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2013). Paying attention to literacy: Six foundational principles for improvement in literacy, K–12. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario. Retrieved from


A practical online assessment tool: TRAILS (Tool for Real-Time Assessment of Information Literacy Skills), from Kent State University ( TRAILS focuses on five areas: “developing a topic; identifying potential sources; developing, using, and revising search strategies; evaluating sources and information; and recognizing how to use information responsibly, ethically, and legally” (Lawrence, 2014, p. 69).

Lawrence, E. (2014). Librarians on the loose. Knowledge Quest, 42(4), 64-70. Retrieved from

and the advent of new literacies. Achterman (2010) recommends specific journals a book list, but acknowledges that this can be daunting, but to just start reading and learning anyway, knowing that it is a lifelong growth process. That is encouraging!

Transliteracy (transfer skills between platforms, formats...)

News Literacy

Critical Literacy

Information Literacy

Information Literacy as defined by the American Library Association (ALA) is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information."

Digital Citizenship in the Curriculum
Daniel G. Krutka and Jeffrey P. Carpenter

"If education is to be a safeguard of democracy, then recent events suggest tweets and other social media must be part of curriculum," write Daniel G. Krutka and Jeffrey P. Carpenter. In this article, the authors argue that teaching citizenship also requires teaching with and about social media. They provide a framework for educators to prepare students for three different types of digital citizenship: personally-responsible, participatory, and justice-orientated.

critical evaluation skills and media literacy (as a part of the overall need for the full spectrum of literacies and the ability to move fluidly and between formats, or transliteracy) are crucial for navigating today’s digital world

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Common Sense Education offers high-quality, free resources for digital citizenship, with an entire curriculum guide, lesson plans, games, videos, and assessment. 

Click on the images, or go to their K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum Scope & Sequence:

Media Literacy, by Crash Course 

"Learning objectives In 12 episodes, Jay Smooth teaches you Media Literacy! Based on an introductory college level curriculum, this series takes you through the history and psychology of media and gives you the skills to become more media savvy. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

* Describe media literacy as a skill and its development over time

* Understand the positive and negative effects of media on audiences

* Explain how media regulations and policies affect media producers

* Create many forms of media in an informed way."

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