Reading together

Perusall logoWe’ll use Perusall to annotate and read together. Link here to Perusall.

Instructions for joining on the Week 1: Getting Situated page.


Link to calendar here

Time photoOur course is organized around a series of routines:  gathering and analyzing data, reading, writing, and making artifacts together.

Slides & Resources

Slides & Resources

We can share slides, notes, resources we want to keep track of here.

Place for shared notes (we might decide to rotate some people who keep notes for us)

Nov 15: prep for peer feedback on Wednesday, Nov 17

English 332: Prep for Peer Feedback session on Nov 17

What should you bring?

  1. You should come with a start to your draft: there are a couple ways I can imagine doing this (bring 2-3 pages; enough for feedback)
    • Start with your intro and provide some context for your study (perhaps the first 2 pages of your draft). Then roughly outline where your draft is going next.
    • Try out a portion of your draft where you make sense of the data you’ve collected. How might you introduce the data (how did you find it? How did you make sense of it?). What claims can you make about literacies using your data?
      • Notice how Brandt makes claims about sponsors and uses her data—in her case with interviews—to show the range/types of sponsorship that help and hinder literacies. Morgan uses her D&D data (fieldnotes and character sheets) to make claims about game literacy and identity. Orion uses screen shots from Reddit to explore how memes (a kind of literacy) build community.
    • Bring a robust outline with some portions of the paper started.
  1. You should bring the data you’ve collected (screenshots, fieldnotes, interviews, etc) (hard copies or on your laptop/tablet)
  2. Add a memo for the readers: where is this draft in the process? What are you feeling okay about? Where are you stuck and could use the most support in your consult time?

What will we do?

  • We’ll be in trios (see below). You’ll start by reading the memos and drafts from two of your peers. Bring two hardcopies? Or share via email/google docs when you arrive to class?
    • Leave some comments on the draft itself (try for two ideas for revision or next steps for the writer).
  • Then, each writer will be the focus of a consultation session. Talk through the draft and next steps so that everyone leaves with a plan to finish the draft. (About 15 min each)
  • Trios:
    • Charity, Sel, Lauren
    • Laurel, Ericka, Rebekkah
    • Ari, Elise, Kayli
    • Joel, Rodolfo, Dylan
    • Matthew, Paige H., Adam
    • Reilly, Siri, Kaela
    • Paige D, Breeann, Ajia

Example introductory excerpts from some of the scholarship we’ve read this semester:

From Kirkland:

In this article, I explore these questions by examining the ways in which the tattoos of a young Black man, Derrick Todd, speak to the quiet and often unexamined human story of literacy. This story, told in the workings of ink and flesh, illustrates a young man’s use of texts and tattoos to revise a shattered self-portrait. At the same time, this story posits a powerful critique of the words and worlds that surround him. The presence of Derrick’s tattoos and the meanings etched into them do two things: First, they work to negate the often-silent yet ominous myth about the absence of literacy in the lives of young Black men…Secondly, the recognition of Derrick’s tattoos as literacy artifacts, if taken seriously, can help English educators better understand literacy as a practice not limited to technical, prescribed, or academic functions that privilege and serve only specific forms of texts and groups of people.

From Brandt:

For the last five years I have been tracing sponsors of literacy across the 20th century as they appear in the accounts of ordinary Americans recalling how they learned to write and read. The investigation is grounded in more than 100 in-depth interviews that I collected from a diverse group of people born roughly between 1900 and 1980. In the interviews, people explored in great detail their memories of learning to read and write across their lifetimes, focusing especially on the people, institutions, materials, and motivations involved in the process. The more I worked with these accounts, the more I came to realize that they were filled with references to sponsors, both explicit and latent, who appeared in formative roles at the scenes of literacy learning. Patterns of sponsorship became an illuminating site through which to track the different cultural attitudes people developed toward writing vs. reading as well as the ideological congestion faced by late-century literacy learners as their sponsors proliferated and diversified… In this essay I set out a case for why the concept of sponsorship is so richly suggestive for exploring economies of literacy and their effects. Then, through use of extended case examples, I demonstrate the practical application of this approach for interpreting current conditions of literacy teaching and learning, including persistent stratification of opportunity and escalating standards for literacy achievement. A final section addresses implications for the teaching of writing.

From Morgan:

I had originally set out to write this paper on becoming literate in Dungeons and Dragons. It’s collaborative component provided a perfect opportunity to learn how to play the game from others, but also allowed the chance to map the learning of this game for multiple players. I wanted to track the learning of a group of people, myself included, who had never played. I have more than enough information to detail my blood, sweat, and tears put into skimming the surface of this incredibly complex game. However, the aspect of character building and the functionality of playing as an avatar really caught my attention.

From Miguel:

While choosing Minecraft as a focus for a literacy ethnography study was initially a means to play games under the guise of homework, I was able to stumble across some interesting insights when viewing the game under the lens of literacy studies. The abundance of observable data that can be attained through such mindfulness of a playthrough has allowed me to relate firsthand to this fervor surrounding video game literacy. I, however, want to focus specifically on 1 Mojang is the developer company behind the video game Minecraft. how the developmental design of a video game and community interaction with such developmental process can create an environment for unorthodox multimodal literacies to thrive. But before we look into these observations, I’d like to provide some context surrounding the mechanics of the game and my experiences playing the game itself.

From Orion:

The one thing that does trouble me is the social isolation that comes along with being on the spectrum. I hope that my son will be able to find a community that gives him a sense of belonging. So, choosing a group for my ethnography came naturally because I was already in search of one. These days we often hear about all of the awful ways in which technology is used, and we forget that it can be used as a positive tool. Reddit is a great example of this. Reddit is a social news platform that allows users to discuss and vote on content that other users have submitted. To help police the site and prevent spammers from bombarding readers, Reddit came up with karma points. Users get karma points by their comments and links being up-voted by others in the community ( Within Reddit, there are “subreddits”, which are forums dedicated to specific topics. These subreddits often form tight-knit communities of like-minded individuals who feel comfortable sharing their inner thoughts with each other. So I immersed myself into a subreddit titled “r/autism”. Studying this group did not only give me hope that my son will find a community some day, but it became my community. The group functions as a place for people with Autism to express themselves, but also as a support group for parents with Autistic kids. After studying the subreddit “r/autism”, I have come to the conclusion that an online environment is the perfect place for those on the spectrum to find community.

Nov 1: prep for workshops

Planning for Workshops: Ideas to Consider

  • What do you want us to learn about? Which of the concepts or ideas from your article group reading stood out for your group? What takeaways would you want us to have? Brainstorm tonight a key concept or idea you’d like us to consider.
  • You might think about this task as something akin to creating a lesson plan for a class activity. So, you might consider:
    • do you need any materials? Post-its, pens, other things? (Kim will grab anything you might need)
    • what about timing? Plan out the 30 minutes in segments perhaps.
    • who in your group is leading which portion of the plan? Does everyone have a role (perhaps someone creates slides or creates a resource instead of talking in front of the class, for example)?
    • do you need some slides to orient the presentation?
  • What do you want us to do? How might we engage in the ideas in addition to you telling us about the ideas? Some suggestions:
    • Ask us to do some writing to get us into the ideas you are presenting (a quick write, perhaps)
    • Ask us to read or watch a short portion of a text. We could discuss ideas with a partner or small group
    • Ask us to problem solve an idea in small groups and share out
    • Set up stations with a few activities to try around the room
    • Use Pear Deck to engage us in your presentation
  • Curate a resource for us: a “starter kit” of some of the most useful texts your group read. Example of a resource I often create for participants here. Yours might not be as lengthy, but you could include a link to any slides, some readings or other useful links. And here are some example slides too.

Oct 11 & 13:

Oct 4:

Just FYI: sequel to Aristotle & Dante for those of you who are interested.

Elise’s song make

Adobe Spark examples:

Film examples:

Why Not Now: Mardelle Peck from Objekt Films

Sylvia’s film example below

What if we grabbed a couple of favorite sentences from our literacy interviews and gave them voice/image? Shared in Adobe Spark or short film or something else (poetry form?)

Sept 29

Link to slides for Brandt work

Sept 27

Reading Rainbow theme song

Reading Rainbow and Jimmy Fallon  

From Brandt’s “Sponsors of Literacy”

Sponsors, as I have come to think of them, are any agents, local or distant, concrete or abstract, who enable, support, teach, model, as well as recruit, regulate, suppress, or withhold literacy-and gain advantage by it in some way. Just as the ages of radio and television accustom us to having programs brought to us by various commercial sponsors, it is useful to think about who or what underwrites occasions of literacy learning and use. Although the interests of the sponsor and the sponsored do not have to converge (and, in fact, may conflict) sponsors nevertheless set the terms for access to literacy and wield powerful incentives for compliance and loyalty. Sponsors are a tangible reminder that literacy learning throughout history has always required permission, sanction, assistance, coercion, or, at minimum, contact with existing trade routes. Sponsors are delivery systems for the economies of literacy, the means by which these forces present themselves to-and through-individual learners. They also represent the causes into which people’s literacy usually gets recruited.

Who sponsors our literacies (in helpful and not so helpful ways)?

Do you see evidence of literacy sponsors in your interviews?

What other categories are we seeing in interview data (any patterns)?

Sept 13 & 20

“It’s interesting how cheating on tests is viewed as a student’s betrayal of their teacher/institution, rather than (generally) an attempt to avoid punishment for failure to keep up with instruction that is either unwilling or unable to slow down for them.” — Kaela

“Technology isn’t impartial. It is created by humans and is subject to the biases and prejudices of the people who create, run, and use it.” –Arie

Digital Learning Policy CSU Chico

FAQ Proctorio Chico State

Slides for quantified self work

Sept 1

Slides for Kirkland quotes: link here

Prep for Makes

Link to Shipka (backstory for our Makes)



The Small Science Zine Archive

Have a Feeling Zine

A digital version of the folding instruction sheet

Video of folding

From Sarah Pape: The Hermit Crab Essay

Simply put, a hermit crab essay is a piece of writing that lives in the shell of another form—essay as instructions, essay as syllabus, essay as liner notes in an album. Essayists Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola coined the term in their book Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining and Publishing Creative Nonfiction. Here’s what they have to say about the metaphor and the approach:

 A hermit crab is a strange animal, born without the armor to protect its soft, exposed abdomen. And so it spends its life occupying the empty, often beautiful, shells left behind by snails or other mollusks. It reanimates these shells, making of them a strange, new hybrid creature that has its own particular beauty, its own way of moving through the tide pools and among the rocks. Each one will be slightly different, depending on the type of shell it decides to inhabit.


The Professor of Longing by Jill Talbot

User Manual for Administering High Stakes Testing by Ali Kent

The Heart as a Torn Muscle by Randon Billings Noble

Writing Prompts from a Teacher Trying to Get Her Class to Reveal Where They Hid Her Keys by Libby Marshall

To get started: you might start by looking over the data you collected as you traced your literacies and the bit of reflective writing from class on Monday (see prompts below from Aug 30). Then, take a look at this list of writing genres and choose a “shell” that might lend itself to your subject (also, feel free to pick a genre not listed here). From Sarah Pape: “Part of the delight in drafting a Hermit Crab Essay is getting the form to look convincing.”

Sylvia’s video example

Aug 30

Individual work with notes:

How did you decide what to keep track of? What questions emerged as you tried to decide what to record? What did you learn about your reading and writing habits from tracing those two days? What was left out? Do you think what you decided to trace is a representation of you as a reader/writer? Reflect on what you learned from tracing your literacies.

Barton and Hamilton (2000) describe literacy practices as “the general cultural ways of utilizing written language which people draw upon in their lives. In the simplest sense literacy practices are what people do with literacy” (p. 8). Literacy practices involve values, attitudes, feelings, and social relationships. They have to do with how people in a particular culture construct literacy, how they talk about literacy and make sense of it. These processes are at the same time individual and social. They are abstract values and rules about literacy that are shaped by and help shape the ways that people within cultures use literacy.


What literacy categories emerge? What literate activities take up the most time? What counts as literacy? What seems to be the purpose of the reading and writing in our sample? How do peers’ traces of literacies compare with yours?

If this was a sample data set, what claims could we make about how literacy is used in our cultures?

Prep for reading Wednesday: meet David Kirkland

Aug 23: Slides for day 1 (Aug 23) here