Glossary of Multiliteracy Terms

Audio representation - sound effects (New London Group, 1996)

- Any group, organization or forum which allows members to express ideas, share thoughts, or submit information to be accepted and/or evaluated by other members. 

Critical literacies - The ability to interpret information and critically examine it to see alternative perspectives.

Curriculum literacies - "The differentiation of subject-specific literacy demands" (Unsworth, 2001, p. 10).

Cyberliteracies - "The affordance of computer technologies" ((Unsworth, 2001, p. 12).

Digital literacy - The ability to use digital media, communication tools or networks to find, decipher, evaluate, and create information which can then be further shared via digital means.

Digital representation - traditionally text based content reproduced to be delivered in a digital means (pdfs, scanned images, etc.); allows content to be more interactive and thus more meaningful to the individual user.

Electronic media - Any media resource that is based, stored, recorded, located or created using electronic means.

Literacy - The ability to read, write, and communicate in an effective manner.

Linguistic representation - text, oral presentation, etc. (New London Group, 1996)

Mass media -  A series of media outlets (including, but not limited to television, radio, internet, newspapers, and magazines) designed to reach a broad audience.

Material reality - the tangible material world as it is interpreted by the viewer/learner.

Meta-language - Language for describing language, linguistic processes and the dissemination of literacies.

Multiliteracy - The variability of making meaning in different cultural, social, or domain specific contexts. This is especially relevant to the elements of new information and communications media.  (

Multimedia - Any media format which extends beyond traditional text resources (i.e. video, art, music, television, radio, etc.

Multimodality - Words rarely exist alone and are often accompanied by another mode: oral, visual, audio, tactile, gestural, spatial. (

Multiplicity -  There is more than one type of literacy, and the context in which it takes place is a a huge determining factor (teachers and firefighters often use different language in addressing their daily tasks. (

Recognition literacy - The ability to recognize terms, phrases, symbols or signs in a medium and comprehend the message begin delivered.

Reflection literacy - Reading and interpreting with the inclusion of certain values and understandings and the exclusion of other values and understandings.  (Unsworth, 2001 p 15).

Reproduction literacy - The ability to take a topic, question, or idea, and disseminate it, break it, manipulate it, and reassemble it, thereby creating something new.

Semiotic reality - making meaning and interpreting the significance of signs, symbols and representative "texts" as they relate to culture, community, and the individual.

Social reality - the meaning and understanding behind social relationships, connections, contact and interaction; based on accepted social and cultural practices.

Spatial representation - perspective. (New London Group, 1996)

Systematic knowledge -The building of knowledge in which one level of understanding is layered on top of another level of understanding (it is impossible to achieve systematic knowledge without building on basic content understanding).

Transformative knowledge -Learning which either transforms the individual and allows them to do their best in a given set of circumstances, or impacts the community and can make the world a better place. (