#UPLovesLiteracy: Be part of our literacy campaign!

Posted on September 11, 2020

International Literacy Day is observed on 8 September every year. UP, however, will runs its literacy campaign from 8 to 24 September. The Unit for Academic Literacy tells us more about their exciting digital drive this year.

When we realise just how multiliterate we all are, we understand our true worth and are able to value the many ways in which we communicate ideas. “Hold on!” you say. “I speak only one language, battle to design a PowerPoint presentation and can’t sing in key.” Well, reading facial expressions, feeling scared when a horror movie’s soundtrack screeches, and knowing that sugar actually makes your spicy sauce more bearable is also part of being literate.

This year, UP’s Unit for Academic Literacy (UAL) wondered how it could make staff and students at the University more aware of our literacies during COVID-19. Under normal circumstances, International Literacy Day on 8 September is when the UAL interacts with students on campus and encourages them to explore their multiliteracies and participate in the annual UP Library book drive. This year, the UAL has taken its campaign into cyberspace! 

Literacy is about so much more than reading, writing and speaking a language. Suddenly music becomes so much more than playing the guitar – it’s about understanding how to make good music without playing it out aloud. Chemistry becomes so much more than working in a lab – it’s about understanding elements and compounds so well that chemists can hypothesise about the form of the next life-saving medicine before they even mix the substances.

Every day, staff and students at UP study multiple literacies. You might use one of many languages, such as English, music notation or computer coding – yes, those are languages too. You might also study a particular disciplinary theory and practice, such as Keynesian economics, and how to make a profit on the stock market.

UP will celebrate International Literacy Day from 8 to 24 September, during which time, the UAL’s Literacy Day team will highlight the importance of literacy and multiliteracies. The team has created a campaign that promotes awareness, interaction, inclusion and a love of literacy. Under the hashtag #UPLovesLiteracy, the Literacy Day team will host multiple competitions on UP’s Instagram page. To submit an entry, please follow these three easy steps:

Upload a picture of your favourite book or something that reminds you of it (#shelfies are welcome).
In the caption, explain why you enjoyed your selected book and what literacies it has helped you to engage.
Tag UP in your post and include the hashtag #UPLovesLiteracy in the caption.

The Literacy Day team will post video content on UP’s Instagram page to showcase the vast array of literacies of UP students, alumni and staff.

International Literacy Day is a time to reflect on our own literacy, to assist others in discovering their literacy and to marvel at the multiliterate world we inhabit. If we share our literacies, we can learn from one another, regardless of age, race, gender, background or education. When we consider the context of Heritage Month amid a pandemic that has isolated us from one another, the importance of really understanding what literacy is and how it can be used to form connections really hits home.

Visit us on our Instagram page, @universityofpretoria, for more information.

- Author Unit for Academic Literacy

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