Literacy is a capability we privilege above all others. It is a universal good. It is widely viewed as a prerequisite for success and personal development. By contrast, illiteracy is understood to be an impairment. While I will argue that literacy is doomed, and while I will try to make the case that what replaces literacy will be more powerful, like you, I harbour strong allegiances to literacy. I have been transported by poetry; I have been enriched by lucid and complex arguments; I have been entertained, touched, moved, and enraged by the writings of great people; I have shared my thoughts with friends and recorded ideas for my great grandchildren. I have reveled in reading and writing.


Like you, I am a child of literacy. I have experienced the enormous pleasure and personal advantage of being literate. But I have also seen the complexities of the world challenge our ability to respond.


To help our students experience these same triumphs they must become masters of a new ABC’s: Access-Behaviors-Contribution