Mrs. Reed’s Literacies Project

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My Literate Life Collage

My Literate Life Essay

This week, as I’ve taken note of my literary habits, I’ve re-evaluated the definition of “literacy” multiple times. Finally, I defined “literacy” as: “Any format of transmitting or receiving communication from or to another human being.” I included vocal discourse, reading, speaking, listening, watching videos, and interacting online. I justified this definition because, in all of these cases, a common “language” is required; shared word meanings, grammar and syntax, and context are needed to create shared knowledge between interlocutors. To me, “literacy” is familiarity with these diverse formats of language and communication.

I have found that my life is full of literate practices. I don’t read many books for pleasure, but I am definitely a communicator. I included several unexpected literacy habits in the log, for various reasons. Every day this week, I’ve used a Spanish-learning app called DuoLingo on the bus each morning. I count this as literacy because it is language-learning. I want to be fluent in Spanish to communicate with minority students and my family, and this habit increases my Spanish literacy. I also included playing online Scrabble with my husband (he beats me every time), because it is a way we stay connected, and a source for learning new words. We discuss new words, and communicate emotions (anger) about playing (losing) the game through texts. I added in television time, social media check-ins, and conversations with people in my life. Thinking back, I would also add in “listened to class lecture” as well. All of these require language knowledge.

Most of my reading and writing was for school assignments this week, except I spent several chunks of my time editing a personal blog, where I intend to continue to publishing articles. I’ve been struggling to read a young adult novel for this class, because “fun reading” feels like a much lower priority than “school reading.” I just ran out of energy to engage with straightforward texts, I think, after finishing the required material. I can only sit and stare at different arrangements of the alphabet for so long, apparently.

Week-Long Literacy Log

Part II: Literacy Log, Registers


  • Had long text conversation with out-of-town friend. Used tons of emojis and pictures, but mostly my normal standard English to talk with her. Usage of all-caps or ellipsis to convey tone.
  • I don’t always capitalize or use apostrophes correctly during texts.
  • I rarely abbreviate or use “text speech” like “OMG” or “Y?” unless it’s in a more sarcastic, humorous context. For most conversations, I write in full sentences and spell words fully.


  • Engaged in long conversation with an older couple (mentors for my boyfriend and I), used my normal English for discussion. I was more thoughtful about my communication, I used more precise vocabulary to be clear and communicative, but I used the same language pattern that I always use.


  • Attended a baby shower with many close friends. I had multiple short “catching up” interactions with various people, in a more casual way. My language patterns were consistent with other contexts, but I did exaggerate my tone more while story-telling, and used “like” and other less-thoughtful words more often.
  • Went camping alone with boyfriend.


  • Spoke to my boyfriend almost the whole day on camping trip. We have a quieter way of talking together, of joking around or communicating during activities. I use a “baby voice” sometimes, or slip into a mocking tone around him, and I also sing random things with him while walking through the grocery store. I let myself be extremely relaxed and a little silly when its just us together, so I notice that in my speech pattern.


  • Mostly alone working on school assignments today. My academic voice is not stiff, I allow myself to speak in a normal, thoughtful, and mature voice in “school-related” work. I use larger words, but my writing is still relaxed.


  • Phone call with best friend who is studying abroad. We have some jokes and some serious moments, but my language is average with her. Sometimes I elongate a word for drama, but otherwise its pretty standard and relaxed.
  • Phone call with my grandmother. I am relaxed and have good, honest dialogue with her. Sometimes I have to be thoughtful to explain something more in-depth to her about my life, and I choose my words more carefully so I’m fully understood, but my patterns are standard.
  • Teaching a class. I was more direct in communicating to a classroom of sixth graders. I try to be warm and friendly with students, so I talk with them how I talk with everyone. Sometimes we joke around, other times I’m giving formal instructions. We were learning the Parts of Speech, so I did need to use proper terminology and give accurate examples.
  • Discussion with my CT. My CT is a very relaxed teacher, so I felt good about establishing a casual text/email tone with her. She uses emojis, so I also use emojis in texts.
  • Phone call from work-related company. I spoke in a professional all-business tone with a representative of a product I use for work.
  • Game night at boyfriend’s house, with his parents. Very joking, mocking, casual. Some shouting. I use a bit of Spanish with them, even though I know more Spanish than they do, but his mom and sister have wanted to learn. So, I add in a few Spanish phrases when I’m hanging out with them.


  • Spent the day at home, mostly texting and writing for school.
  • Arranging Thanksgiving plans with my family. I have to be very clear when talking to my family, because they easily get things misconstrued. I have to simplify the message for them more than usual.

Part II: Reflection

My language practices don’t differ very much in different contexts when it pertains to sentence structure and vocabulary. However, I have discovered that I am guilty of changing registers depending on the situation.

With elders, my family, and in academic writing, I attempt to be precise, succinct, and specific with my word choice. Even though I’m still relaxed when I speak or write in a “formal register,” I can tell my thoughts are more fully-formed because I have the need to communicate more clearly with those people.

When I am texting, I don’t us “text speech,” but I do dismiss some punctuation and capitalization conventions out of laziness. This especially applies to back-and-forth text conversations with friends, but I also do this with my grandparents, parents, and my CT (she dismisses these conventions as well, so I feel comfortable mirroring that.) I also use emojis, mostly limited to a set of 6 specific faces that I use all the time.

My “informal register” comes out in small talk with friends. I might emphasize words for drama to tell a story, talk faster, and I become less thoughtful about the purpose of communicating. I’m less precise in my speech, because I don’t have a need to communicate anything specific or complicated. I don’t shorten words, use slang or curse, or change my pronunciation very much when switching to this type of communication, but I do have different pacing and emphasis.

I’ve discovered a third register that I slip into. I call it my “intimate register.” This comes out only when I’m alone with my boyfriend, either in-person or texting. I notice myself slipping into different accents and tones to make jokes or mock him. I sing and act silly, or I use a baby-voice. In texting, I use a variety of emojis and other punctuation to communicate in-the-moment thoughts and emotions. This style of communication is like a stream-of-consciousness, unmonitored speech. Even in serious moments, I still communicate more complex thoughts with him than anyone else, simply because we have an intimate relationship and we are often on the same mental wavelength. Our rhythm is unique to us, and our little language works to reinforce our communication.

Overall, I don’t have much diversity in language. I have a few different attitudes that affect my speech, but I never feel like I’m forcing myself into a different voice that isn’t my own, even within academia. I feel that, concerning “standard” English, I have familiarity and mastery that comes from a life lived within the confines of “traditionally educated people.”