• What it seem's like to me is that Malcolm X define's literacy as more then being capable to read and write. To him, being able to truly comprehend what you are reading makes you literate, it goes beyond the ability to pick up a book and being able to read what is written unlike what we are taught in schools today. We're taught to understand the meaning of the words we read and write, in the context that it's given. Malcolm X not only understands the meaning of the words he reads and writes but understands the message that is being conveyed then applies it to his existing knowledge base.
  • The excerpt "Learning to Read" by Malcolm X explains the reasons behind his literacy belief. Malcolm X defines literacy as the ability to not only read and write but to understand what it is you have learned. During his seven years of imprisonment, reading satisfied his curiosity of the world. He began reading and copying each word from the dictionary which led him to his interest in books; mainly readings on slavery and racism. Malcolm X stated that his "homemade education gave him a bit more sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness and blindness that was afflicting the black race in America." (360) The idea he has about literacy is very similar to school-based literacy in my opinion. You must have the ability to grasp the concept of what it is that you are reading and writing. The only difference between Malcolm X's belief of literacy and school-based literacy would be the distractions that come along with a school environment. Malcolm X feels that prison allowed him to study and learn much more than what he would've in college; "..the biggest troubles with colleges is there are too many distarctions, too much panty-raiding, fraternities, and boola-boola..." (360) Not to say that you must be imprisoned to be as intellegent as Malcolm X, but I do feel that you learn the most by doing your own exploring and research. Literacy sponsors also play a role in one's literacy. As far as Malcolm X's sponsors what little schooling he had, Muhammad and the few inmates that fueled his desire to learn helped shape his literacy. Essentially, professors, study groups and advisors help to shape school-based literacy.