Despite the articles being a little repetitive, I found parts of the pieces interesting. Obviously, writing and reading are inextricably linked to each other, as Brandt points out, “There can be no reading without writing, nor writing without reading.” But, I personally had never really considered either of the two activities in the ways Brandt presents them. The concept of mass literacy through writing was interesting to me. It seems to implicitly make an argument for the value of effective communication and the importance of what I think Kenneth Bruffee would call “social discourse.”
In my peer tutoring seminar, we’re talking a lot about writing, what writing is, how to best learn how to write, and effective strategies for making good peer tutors, and thus, better writers. I’m noticing a trend in these writings towards a more collaborative learning style. Advocates of this particular style of teaching cite the effectiveness of communicating with other writers, at all skill levels, about writing and the writing process, and Brandt’s piece seems to reinforce this theory. In a society that’s tending towards a mass population of writers, writers are forced to communicate with each other and, in doing so, they make their writing better. There’s a trend of moving away from defining knowledge as this abstract good to be transferred from the knowledgable (the instructor) to the ignorant (the student). More and more, knowledge is being defined in a collaborative sense, where understanding is something to achieved through conversation, according to writing scholars like North and Bruffee.
It’s then interesting to think about what Brandt says, and how she classifies reading as good, but writing as good. If knowledge is no longer a commodity, but a goal to strive towards, then reading as the sole mean of disseminating knowledge becomes obsolete. Obviously, I don’t think people should stop reading, but I’m tempted to say that far more emphasis needs to be placed on, in academic institutions especially, the value of writing.