The Educational Functions of the First Woman’s Almanac in Britain: Media Literacy and The Ladies’ Diary, 1704–1713
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While 18th-century almanacs transmitted usable information that was meant to be relevant to daily life, at the beginning of the century they also began to function as an educational tool that enabled readers to act as producers of media content, and, as a result, to develop media literacy via the practice of writing and responding to amateur poetry. In this article, I define media literacy as a cultural category shaped by specific media-related skills: the creation, interpretation, evaluation, and negotiation of media content. I examine John Tipper’s The Ladies’ Diary (1704–1713), one of the best-selling almanacs of the era, as an educational tool that, through the strategy of inviting and publishing amateur poetry, promoted and taught media competencies. Tipper’s almanac, I argue, should thus be acknowledged as an influential document in the history of media education.
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