Part 5: Production of printed literacy materials
Preparation of final manuscript should be carried out while checking readability and attractiveness and, particularly, accuracy of content and information (especially proper nouns, numbers, etc.) Being educational materials, these productions for neo-literates should be carefully checked for accuracy and correctness in grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.
Another important task in editing is ensuring that headings of posters and newspapers and titles and captions in books and booklets are suited to contents. When editing books and booklets, continuity of successive pages (including amount and distribution of information and distribution and layout of text and illustration) without monotony should be verified.
The editing personnel (editor) has to adjust the contents, descriptions, form and so on, reading the manuscripts and examining the illustrations both from the points of view of the target neo-literates and the editor. Furthermore, points such as infringement of copyright, libel, political restriction of public morals have to be taken into consideration, and evaluation. If the editor should notice any problem, he should consult with the material planner, writer or illustrator.
After inspecting the contents, the editor has to prepare for production. Such work of preparing the manuscripts is called 'copy-editing'. The main things which the editor or the copy-editor does can be summarized under seven headings:
1) readability and legibility
He also, has to check the illustrations, their size and place in the text, their captions, etc.
When the editor has completed his work on manuscripts, he prepares the prelims; bastard title page, title page, copyright page, table of contents and list of illustrations, etc. Then the manuscripts will be sent to the production department, with adequate instructions.
The accuracy of description and grammar of materials for neo-literates is very important because one of the main purposes of the materials is to teach correct letters, words and sentences. When the galleys are sent from the printer, the editor (or proof-reader) and the writer have to go through and correct them thoroughly. If any misprints or factual errors are failed to be discovered, the results will become fatal matter to the materials.
So, the ability of proof-reading is indispensable for editing personnel.
Designing and Layout
It should be fully understood that in producing educational materials for neo-literates, in addition to ensuring that interest of the target group is stimulated through visually attractive, easily comprehended, enjoyable material, attention to the important role of designing should be paid. Layout and composition in designing should, first of all, render letters, words, and sentences, as well as illustrations, graphs, and photographs, in a easily readable and understandable way and, additionally, be such as to draw the reader's interest. In this layout and design, or distribution of elements on the page, blank space in proportion to total page surface is an important consideration. Five basic principles in the distribution of elements on the page surface are given below:
(A) Paper Size and Arrangement
In the case of a book or booklet size and number of pages and paper quality should be decided on, and in the case of a poster or board game size and quality of paper or card stock decided on, and script and illustrations, photographs, etc. should be laid out to best facilitate understanding and enjoyment. Devise a layout scheme which best fits the condition, mood, expression, and needs of the target neo-literates.
To avoid confusion and loss of interest on the part of neo-literates, complex or otherwise unclear typeface should not be used. Use a most readable, plain type face, one which is best suited to communicating the message to the reader.
Consider size of letters or characters, length and order of sentences in designing materials that are easily read and well received by target neo-literates. Neo-literate materials should use larger typeface to make it easy reading.
(C) Relation between Illustration and Script
Coordinate illustrations and script suitably to clearly represent the content. Be particularly careful to design script portion in a manner for easy reading when the materials are for neo-literates. Through effective use of blank (white) space, the possibility of psychological resistance to the script is minimized and affinity with the materials is encouraged in the reader.
The use of colour involves higher production costs but enhances attractiveness. Effectiveness is particularly heightened when booklet covers, especially crucial information, charts, etc. are done in colour. Use of colour should also be based on custom, tradition, preferences etc. of people in the target area.
Colour schemes can be designed in monochrome, 2-colour, 3-colour, or 4-colour; this should be done in accordance with objective, content, necessity, and economic and other conditions. Refer to "Effective monochrome printing" for information on single colour publication production.
(E) Selection of Paper
Choose paper or card stock that best suits the medium (book, booklet, pamphlet, poster, card, or board game). Because materials for neo-literates are read and otherwise used a number of times, the materials they are printed on should ideally be as durable and light in weight as is economically possible.
Printing paper should be chosen in consideration of the following six characteristics:
Use paper that is locally available. Cloth can also serve as printing surface material and, being generally more durable and flexible than paper, can be effectively utilized for posters and other materials that are often folded or rolled.
Layout is the product of a design concept realized via text and picture. In neo-literate materials the purpose of layout is to organize and present material in order to facilitate learning. To present the learning goal clearly is important. One may have originality in layout but if the target neo-literates unguided or confused, then that layout has failed a major test. Look at the material through the eyes of the learner; ability to scan and organize is considerably different and more sophisticated.
Good layout is the results of mastery of various elements: a) an understanding of the possibilities of the mechanical instruments-what can be done with colour for example and what substitutes are equally good; b) for designers of neo-literate materials, an understanding of target neo-literates, capabilities and needs; and c) mastery over 'tools'-type, style and size, space and margin, length of line, colour.
Printing is the final stage of production of printed materials, and is an important factor in how attractive and effective the materials are and, therefore, how well they are received by the neo-literates.
Printing methods vary depending on local conditions and available equipment. Decision on printing methods can be made according to number of copies, objectives, content, and economical considerations.
1. Methods of printing
1) Printing small numbers of materials
It has been well known that the printing process which are available in mass reproduction of various information or patterns are (a) letterpress, (b) offset-litho, (c) gravure, and (d) screen process.
Among these four printing processes which have been grouped according to the shape of the cross-section patterns of printing plates, letter-press and offset-litho are widely used in the reproduction of printing matter.
Printing process used of letterpress plate which has a raised printing area has developed since Gutenberg invented the type alloys and the type in the 15th Century. This process has obtained considerable importance in the world especially for the reproduction of newspapers, publications, magazines and many other things. And it is the process most widely used for printing of publications in many countries, because metal types is the most economical and convenient tool for printing textual matter.
b) Offset-litho printing
Offset-litho printing has derived from the stone lithography discovered by Alois Senefelder in 1799. In this process printing is carried out with flat surface on which the printing area and non-printing area are formed on the same plane. Offset-litho printing may be the most convenient process for reproduction of halftone and colour works. At the present time the major share of this process is on sheet-fed printing, but reel fed printing has begun to take the place of letterpress printing.
c) Gravure printing
Gravure printing and screen process may be classified as unconventional printing processes, because they are mainly employed as the means of printing for non-paper materials such as synthetic resin, metal foils, ceramics and so on.
Chart 1. Classification of printing
1. According to plates
1) Letterpress (Relief)
2. According to printing methods
1) Platen press
2. Effective Mono-chrome Printing
Properly applied, mono-chrome printing can achieve attractive effects to arouse learner's interest that match any effects created by multicoloured printing.
Mono-chrome printing involves the use of a single colour, such as black, red, green, blue, and brown. Text matter and illustrations in materials can be usually printed in black, because this colour reproduces the most stable image in terms of legibility and reproducibility. The brightest area of a printed page is therefore the colour or the paper itself and the darkest area is the solid black.
Colours other than black have their own qualities which should be considered in obtaining effective printing results to meet a material's purposes. The visual effect with one-colour printing can be greatly enhanced by using gradation from light to dark. When printing in these colour, they should be dark enough to maintain text legibility and illustration reproducibility. The same consideration should be taken into when reproducing halftones.
Type matter is usually printed in solid tones (100% value) but while it can also be screened (Using tints ranging from 10% to 90%), overprinted (printing a solid tone over a tint), or reversed (letters appearing as pure white against a solid-colour background.)
It is important when screening, overprinting, or reverse printing is used that type is sufficiently large or bold. If the typeface is too detailed or the type size too small in reverse printing, the colour may run over into the white type, while in overprinting the edge of the type might be distorted when the type overlaps with screen tints at certain degrees.
Colour tones, ranging from solids to screened tints, can effectively present also illustrative information such as drawings, photographs, and charts.
In Search of a Language to Write for Illiterate Adults
Adult illiterates are not dumb people. They can speak and communicate anything they want, and they can do it most effectively. They have a language, and can use it with command, without fumbling for words. Their vocabulary may also be very rich, and they may be able to form and twist a sentence in the manner they choose. This means that command over syntax is also absolute, though they have not learned grammar or language in any formal school. Their predicament is that they cannot read or write the language they speak.
Many languages spoken by people in various parts of the world do not have a script. Available studies tell us that these languages purely spoken have a rich tradition of creative folk literature. These languages have lived their literature for centuries. They have lived it in their oral tradition and have transmitted it to their generations orally. They have nurtured the human memory and stored everything in it. At the same time they have also nurtured the art of oral communication. Existing folk forms of communication tell us a lot about the centuries-old concern of making oral communication powerful and emphatic. This concern has given to the oral tradition a creative force. It can be said that oral traditions all over the world are intrinsically and instantaneously creative. These spoken languages thus keep on enriching themselves.
People for whom we are going to promote literacy or for whom we want to create materials belong to this world of oral tradition. Our job is to motivate them to accept the new culture of literacy, to enter the new world of the printed word. They would then be in the process of transition-transition from oracy to literacy. In this effort, we have to be very careful, and understand the positive strength of oracy. We will have to learn from them their words and their ways of using the language. One has to learn all about popular and frequently used words. One should also understand the use of different sounds or phonemes, for at times, by a slight variation of a particular sound, the meaning changes. Sounds in oral tradition reflect the rhyme and rhythm of life, and the motion and velocity of their work influences, or rather creates, the language. They thus breathe and live the language. Any effort of transition therefore has to be a humble, non-violent and fittingly rhythmic effort. No effort of introducing the printed word should look like an external intrusion. It should not be an effort to impose something upon them, but rather to extend their ability and develop their competence to communicate with the world or societies outside.
How can we do it? How can we find a language to write for orally rich but illiterate people? There cannot be any other answer but the 'mother tongue'-the language which they have learned since birth and which they speak. If we choose their mother tongue as a medium of imparting literacy, either we will have to learn it ourselves or have somebody from the community itself work with us. The best course would be to go to the people, learn from them and build on what they have. To understand the beauty of a spoken language, one can broadly list a few aspects of its beauty as follows.
1) A spoken language is always rhythmic and poetic, not prosaic.
When using the mother tongue for writing for illiterate adults or neo-literate adults we will have to keep these aspects in mind.
This effort would certainly be an exercise in assimilating two traditions, through a synthesis of two different disciplines-oral and written— one using the strength of the other, while mutually preserving their ingenuity. This would require a sincere preparedness to internalize both the traditions and come out with a new one.
Guidelines for Illustrating Basic Literacy and Follow- up Materials
Art work has a very important role in education no matter what the level is-from university right down to kindergarten. Most important, art work/illustration for basic literacy can have a dynamic impact on the learning process of the illiterate trying to understand letters, signs/ symbols, words, sounds, numbers, etc. Therefore, an illustration must be a vessel transporting specific ideas from drawn/painted marks to reality. The illustration must be:
Able to stimulate the learners' interest
These can only be achieved through proper planning in the initial stages. An illustrator/ designer must be involved in the very early stages to 'catch the vision' with the planners and writers.
a) Budget is usually the main concern in any production work. Until this is established, there cannot be any firm decision regarding the number of colours to be used, number of pages, etc.
a) The style of illustration can only be firmly decided when a survey is completed, to establish what style the target group understands, and ideas are clearly outlined. Realistic drawings, or semi-realistic cartoons must effectively communicate. Realism is desirable, not photographic realism, but reality through the eyes of an artist.
a) Field testing must be carried out with the materials produced before final preparation. In testing there must be several different illustration styles, i.e. line drawings, shaded real life cartoons, ink wash, silhouette, etching, etc., on the same topic. Only then can an appropriate style be established. The field test must also be carried out with the target group.
a) In book design, the layout of each page must embody a progression from one stage to another. Text and art work must be related to one another, while balance in illustration and text type style are as important as paragraph layout. It must be simple yet clear, so that the learner can relate to the situation.
Illustration for this programme (basic adult literacy) must be carefully designed to catch the learners' attention. Too many details can cause disorientation, and confusion.
The basic literacy primer must be completely supported throughout by the illustrations. This means that at level I it would be essential to keep the illustrations very simple and, as the learner progresses through each level, it would be appropriate to have the illustration develop into a more detailed perspective. This is to encourage the learner to develop psychologically, to have the eye to see and appreciate the world as it is, to become "self reliant."
Preparing Literacy Materials for Women
Literacy for women is as important as it is for men, but the process of achieving this goal contains certain features which need the special attention of those involved in the preparation of literacy materials for women.
In most conventional societies men are considered the main pillars of the house, but women's responsibilities are far greater in domestic processes and caring services. Health and happiness of the family depend upon the awareness of the woman towards her responsibilities. Ironically enough, society firmly believes that a good woman is one who serves others. This role, which has been the cause of her fetters and subjugation, is defined as soon as she is able to stand up on her own two feet.
Women need social liberation. But liberation within themselves is more important than liberation achieved as a natural consequence of the former, but not vice versa. Their positive participation in bringing about change, in developing new awareness, can lead to their liberation.
The most feasible and effective method for generating awareness is dialogue. Dialogue is not a mere exchange of information. It is a discussion on the platform of equality, concern and compassion, leading to the identification of the root cause of the problem, its analysis from various angles, and finally the action required to eradicate the source of the problem.
Dialogue is not a giver-receiver relationship. The process of raising the level of concern through constant pursuit of study, appreciation and understanding, leads to sublimation. This is the most natural way of gaining each other's confidence and creating a congenial environment for further steps towards the desired change.
Women learn through their feelings while experiencing new dimensions in life. Those who have lived as if in the nether worlds, are resigned to their unfortunate fate, having reached a state where they refuse to reject archaic myths and rituals, and need to be tackled at the emotional level, unlike men.
Women do not have the opportunity to exercise their choices within available options. The discrimination begins even at the foetal stage. In education and nutrition a boy child gets priority. When the boy starts going to school, odd chores done by the boy are also done by the girl, besides many others which have become her responsibility. Apart from these generalized problems of discrimination in various spheres of life, resulting in drudgery, exploitation, oppression, etc., there are some specific problems of place, community, profession and so on. Identification of these problems is possible only through a dialogue as mentioned earlier. The dialogue also helps in finding solutions to the problems.
Besides the technical aspects, which are certainly important for developing literacy materials for women, if the producers of such programmes can establish the fact that women are to be treated as a precious human resource, it would create an all-time radical change in society. What we need is a broadminded vision and perspective of women because subordination of half of a society is a big obstacle to the progress of any country or civilization.
When the materials are developed, the next important step is their proper utilization. Our learners require real situations which are familiar to them in everyday life. Women like to visualize literacy programmes as the means of their coming together, of expressing mutual solidarity and the enhancement of self-confidence and self-image. When the presentation of audio-visual literacy materials is linked with this kind of social or cultural activity its impact is certainly greater.
The time and place of such performances also play a vital role. Women's involvement and participation in the programme very much depend on these factors. The time and place of programmes will have to be determined case by case. Women should not find these programmes a burden or extra labour but should look forward to such activities as a means for relaxation and recreation in their monotonous lives.
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