Millions of Americans routinely spend half their working day or more with their hands on keyboards and their minds on audiences - writing so much, in fact, that they have less time and appetite for reading. In this highly anticipated sequel to her award-winning Literacy in American Lives, Deborah Brandt moves beyond laments about the decline of reading to focus on the rise of writing. What happens when writing overtakes reading as the basis of people's daily literate experience? How does a societal shift toward writing affect the ways that people develop their literacy and understand its value? Drawing on recent interviews with people who write every day, Brandt explores this major turn in the development of mass literacy and examines the serious challenges it poses for America's educational mission and civic health.
Deborah Brandt is Professor Emerita of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Introduction: the rise of mass writing; 1. The status of writing; 2. Writing for the State; 3. Occupation: author/writing over reading in the literacy development of contemporary young adults; 4. When everybody writes; Conclusion: deep writing; Appendices; Notes; Bibliography.