Writing as a Community Practice

In a recent post on the Digital Media & Learning blog the topic of Community and Writing in an Age of New Collectives was explored.  The most interesting point was the recognition that writing is a community practice.  This is likely the result of literacy emerging from oral tradition (see Walter Ong for an in-depth treaty on orality and literacy).

Besides the importance in understand that community encourages stronger writing, the post argues that to fully prepare students to write, we need to prepare students for community.   Also, the audience is crucial.

One way to do this is by leveraging the communities that students are already participating in, from those in their local neighborhoods, to online communities such as those around fanfics or social networks. The ability of computer networks to connect students with others in different physical locations provides a fertile ground for teaching students how to interact with new communities of writers.

They argue that this is the responsibility of schools, but I would disagree.  Schools only offer a temporary community for these students, whereas libraries offer a lifetime community.

7 Responses to “Writing as a Community Practice”

  1. Anthony Molaro Says:


    I agree! Media literacy is actually one of the literacy components of transliteracy. Blogs like this one help raise awareness and provide training, information and skill improvement for librarians interested in these types of topics.

    • Mike Nutt Says:

      Anthony – I kind of realized that after I clicked “submit”! I came to this article from Twitter and it was my first visit to the site. Excited about digging in more here. It’s refreshing to find people focusing more broadly on different kinds of literacy efforts and exploring the connections between them.

      • Bobbi Newman Says:

        I think one of the biggest challenges I hear from libraries is that they don’t know where to start. I’m working on a project to start collecting and sharing stories here on the blog soon.

        • Mike Nutt Says:

          I did five years of media and tech support at UNC for faculty and students. Not knowing where to start is a “trans-problem,” apparently. However, I definitely see interest in capacity building for transliteracy from some of the library branches around Chapel Hill. My student group is trying to organize student-led digital storytelling workshops in libraries here. I’ll keep an eye out for the project Bobbi.

  2. Tweets that mention Writing as a Community Practice « Libraries and Transliteracy -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bobbi Newman, Bobbi Newman. Bobbi Newman said: Writing as a Community Practice « Libraries and Transliteracy http://bit.ly/ayDDlZ […]

  3. Mike Nutt Says:

    Nice post. I would also like to see libraries taking a more active lead in media literacy as well. Helping patrons make videos, navigate social media, post blogs.

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