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Welcome to
Exploring Diversity through Children's Literature: Supporting Students in Becoming Critically Literate
Developed for QUEST 2011 - November 18, 2011, but it is our hope that followers will now take it and develop it further with your ideas.
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Twitter hashtag for November 18 session: #quest11cl
Thank you to everyone who made the session so interactive.
Developed by

Melissa Murray & Greg Collins

@cool_mip @gregcollins2010

We thank you for your visit, your time and your reflections - here's to the learning.Not sure how to use or access Twitter? You may find this site useful.

Critical Challenge: What does critical literacy mean to you?

What is literacy?

YRDSB Literacy Defintion:

"Literacy in the 21st Century is the acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes that enable achievement, personal well-being and full participation in an interconnected and changing world community."


What is critical literacy?

From the Kindergarten Curriculum:

"Critical literacy is the capacity for a particular type of critical thinking that involves looking beyond the literal meaning of a text to determine what is present and what is missing, in order to analyse and evaluate the text’s complete meaning and the author’s intent. Critical literacy goes beyond conventional critical thinking by focusing on issues related to fairness, equity, and social justice. Critically literate children adopt a critical stance, asking what view of the world the text advances and whether they find this view acceptable, who benefits from the text, and how the reader is influenced."

From the Ontario Curriculum Language Arts, K-8; English Grades 9-10 and English Grades 11-12:

"...[C]ritical literacy skills...enable students not only to understand, appreciate, and evaluate what they read and view at a deeper level, but also to help them become reflective, critical, and independent learners and, eventually, responsible citizens."

From the Ontario Curriculum Language Arts (Glossary):

"The capacity for a particular type of critical thinking that involves looking beyond the literal meaning of texts to observe what is present and what is missing, in order to analyse and evaluate the text’s complete meaning and the author’s intent. Critical literacy goes beyond conventional critical thinking in focusing on issues related to fairness, equity, and social justice. Critically literate students adopt a critical stance, asking what view of the world the text advances and whether they find this view acceptable."

Capacity Building Series 2009

5 Key Concepts of Critical Literacy


1. All texts are constructions. What is written is the product of many decisions and determining factors. Much of our view of reality is based on messages that have been constructed in this way, with the author’s attitudes, interpretations and conclusions already built into the text.


2. All texts contain belief and value messages. Whether oral, print or visual media, texts contain messages which reflect the biases and opinions of their authors/creators; whether intentionally manipulative or not, this means that no text can be neutral or value free.


3. Each person interprets messages differently. Demographic factors such as age, culture, gender and socio-economic status as well as prior experience and knowledge play a role in how we interpret a message.


4. Texts serve different interests. Most media messages are created for profit or to persuade, but all texts are produced intentionally for a purpose. These interests can be commercial, ideological or political.


5. Each medium develops its own “language” in order to position readers/viewers in certain ways. Whether TV program, website or novel, each medium creates meaning differently and each has distinctive techniques, conventions and aesthetics.



What is Critical Thinking?

From the Ontario Curriculum Language Arts (Glossary):

"The process of thinking about ideas or situations in order to understand them fully, identify their implications, and/or make a judgement about what is sensible or reasonable to believe or do. Critical-thinking skills used in reading include: examining opinions, questioning ideas, interpreting information, identifying values and issues, detecting bias, detecting implied as well as explicit meanings."