Home > General Overview of the Competency Model > Modes of Cognitive Representation > The Social Mode > Social Background Knowledge > Important Literacy Roles

The range of roles into which a literate person may have to fit is rather large, but for our purposes we can restrict this range to major roles in which being a reader or writer is the critical element. Even this set of roles is extensive and can be elaborated far more than we describe here. But it is worthwhile to list a relatively small set of roles that help define what it means to be a truly literate individual. We expect literate people to understand and be able to fill at least the following general roles:
  • Consumer of information—someone who knows how to find, evaluate, and use published information.
  • Decision-maker—someone who gathers and evaluates information in order to decide on a policy or course of action.
  • Advocate—someone who advocates a position, and therefore produces texts designed to convince others to agree.
  • Citizen—someone who is able to participate in civic discourse by evaluating and presenting political arguments.
  • Literary reader—someone who regularly reads, appreciates, and understands literary texts.
  • Researcher—someone who finds, reads, and evaluates texts in order to synthesize and write up his or her own understanding of a subject.
  • Scientist—someone who can apply the scientific method and communicate his/her results with a community committed to developing realistic, accurate, predictive models.
  • Author—someone who writes texts for publication.
  • Reviewer—someone who evaluates texts, often to help decide whether they should be published.
  • Editor—someone who selects and helps prepare texts for publication.
  • Proofreader—someone who helps produce the final published form of a text.

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