New Literacies

The Oxford dictionary defines ‘literacy’ as the ability to read and write. The term ‘new literacies’ by first glance, gives me the impression that it has something to do with new and different forms of reading and writing. However, we know that the word, ‘literacy’ is so much more than just reading and writing. Hence, I feel that the term ‘new literacies’ will be more than simply the new and different forms of literacy as well. Through reading and a little research, below is my current knowledge and understanding of ‘New Literacies’.

New literacies is a forever changing form of understanding, interpretation and communication  that ultimately continues to include traditional literacy. New forms of literacy have developed over time and due to this result, not only are we and our students simply reading and writing written text, but we are evaluating pictures, videos and sound as part of literacy as a whole. The use of these digital and multimodal formats to enhance traditional literacy are an expansion of text (Rose & Meyer, 2002) and are the core elements of this term ‘new literacies’ (Houtman, 2013).  The students in our classrooms today live with technology and like this technological evolution our students live within, we as teachers need to acknowledge and imply the skills of the digital world into literacy teaching and learning. This is the starting point of new literacies. New literacies have added to the traditional context of education in the classroom by incorporating the fundamental skills of the 21st century (Houtman, 2013). New literacies is by no means replacing the traditional, quality forms of literacy. It is simply adding on and further expanding understanding, interpretation and communication in our classrooms. 


Houtman, E. (2013). New literacies, learning, and libraries: How can frameworks from other fields help us think about the issues? In the Library with the Lead Pipe.  Retrieved from Accessed February 14th, 2014

Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2012). ‘New’ literacies: technologies and values. Revista Teknokultura, 9(1), 45-69.

Oxford University Press. (2014). Oxford British and World English Dictionary. Retrieved from

Rose, D. H., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Retrieved from



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