Start Your Engines

The ability to read age-appropriate text has often been considered a litmus test for literacy. Defining literacy, however, is not as easy as one might think! Before we can understand literacy and its place in inquiry-based programs, we need to be able to recognize and articulate what literacy is.

Since the time pictographs and petroglyphs were discovered on Turtle Island (North America) explorers, settlers and historians have tried to decipher pictures and cave etchings that had been created and shared with purpose. These early forms of expressions continue to fascinate and puzzle scholars and every day observers. What were these ancient pictures communicating?

Written communication is dependent on a coding system that is known and shared – one that enables those separated by time or space to communicate. Literate people have the ability to share knowledge, ideas, stories and emotions with others who understand the same coding system. Sometimes this coding system looks like the English or French alphabet. Other times it looks like Arabic script or Chinese characters.

All of us have a great deal of experience with literacy.  Literacy is built into every aspect of daily lives. So let’s begin exploring what literacy is by unpacking what we already know.

Start your engine with this quick literacy reflection.

(Add button with audio clip (already in media file) of car engine starting and taking off down the road. Then go to Literacy Reflection Quiz)


Pictographs and Petroglyphs

The Mazinaw Pictographs: Listening For Algonquian Echoes


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