What is 21st Century Literacy?




NCTE Publications on 21st-Century Literacy


"The Shift to 21st-Century Literacies" by Lorna Collier

"Literacy has always been intimately tied to a technology . . . the demands of 21st-century literacy are more complex and challenging than those of 18th-century literacy . . . As technology continues to evolve, always moving toward the more sophisticated, our literacy capacities must also grow more sophisticated." (Kylene Beers quoted in Collier, 2007, p. 4)

"To help students thrive in the world of 21st-century literacy, teachers need to become fluent in the language of newer technologies--but this isn't the only to incorporate more modern thinking about literacy. The definition of '21st-century literacies' also includes new ideas about what can be considered texts." (Collier, 2007, p. 4)

"Out-of-school [and workplace] literacies are becoming more and more divergent from in-school literacies." (William Kist quoted in Collier, 2007, p. 5)

"Students need to learn from us how to engage in online spaces and still have academic discourse, to do it for purposeful, functional needs, because the toolset can't be completely different whenever they step into whatever their future jobs might be--and yet that is what the reality is right now." (Sara Kajder quoted in Collier, 2007, p. 5)

"Because the technology is always changing, and because the tools are always changing, it's a hugely challenging time to be a teacher." (Sara Kajder quoted in Collier, 2007, p. 6)

"There's a fallacy that kids aren't reading and writing anymore. They are, but they are reading and writing differently than what we've traditionally done in schools . . . A 21st-century approach [doesn't] say that print writing is bad. It's not competing literacies; it's complementary literacy." (David Bruce quoted in Collier, 2007, p. 7)

published in the November 2007 issue of the Council Chronicle
Also available online at Stenhouse