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Textbook

Literacy: An Introduction to the Ecology of Written Language, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-4051-1143-0
264 pages
January 2007, ©2006, Wiley-Blackwell
Literacy: An Introduction to the Ecology of Written Language, 2nd Edition (1405111437) cover image
This introduction to the expanding field of literacy studies has been fully revised for the second edition. It explores recent developments and new research that has contributed to our understanding of literacy practices, reflecting on the interdisciplinary growth of the study of reading and writing over the past decade.


  • An introductory textbook on the growing field of literacy studies, fully updated for the new edition


  • Includes new sections detailing recent completed studies of literacy practices, and the use of new technologies


  • Distinguishes between the competing definitions of literacy in contemporary society, and examines the language and learning theories which underpin new views of literacy


  • Now features additional material on cross-cultural perspectives, US-based examples, and information detailing current educational policy.

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1. An integrated approach to literacy.

2. Talking about literacy.

3. The social basis of literacy.

4. Researching Literacy Practices.

5. Literacy embedded in language.

6. Configurations of language.

7. Writing systems and other notations.

8. Points in history.

9. The roots of literacy.

10. Emergent literacy.

11. Public definitions of literacy.

12. School practices.

13. Adults and world literacy.

14. Some implications of an ecological view.
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David Barton is Professor of Language and Literacy and Director of the Literacy Research Centre at Lancaster University. His publications include Beyond Communities of Practice (co-edited with Karin Tusting, 2005), Letter Writing as a Social Practice (co-edited with Nigel Hall, 2000), and Local Literacies: Reading and Writing in One Community (with Mary Hamilton, 1998).
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  • an introductory textbook on the growing field of literacy studies, fully updated for the new edition
  • explores recent developments and new research that have contributed to our understanding of literacy practices
  • includes new sections detailing recently completed studies of literacy practices, and the use of new technologies
  • distinguishes between the competing definitions of literacy in contemporary society, and examines the language and learning theories which underpin new views of literacy
  • now features additional material on cross-cultural perspectives, US-based examples, and information detailing current educational policy.
See More
"David Barton is a major player in the rapidly expanding field of literacy studies. In the first edition of Literacy, he brought to the attention of new audiences the research and approaches to literacy signalled by terms such as 'social practice', 'ethnographic', 'situated', and 'embedded' literacies. His own 'ecological' approach provides a coherent and insightful way of bringing together such understandings across many fields. This book will be an invaluable companion to all of those interested in literacy - policy makers, teachers, academics, and journalists - and it will continue to challenge many of the dominant stereotypes with which they otherwise have to work." Brian V. Street, King's College London


"I have profited in my own thinking about literacy from this book... It is a marvellous achievement." Michael Cole, University of Californina, San Diego (of the previous edition)

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