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Windows, Mirrors and Sliding Glass Doors - Rudine Sims Bishop

Play Journal

The assignment:

Early literacy (storytelling/reading) video clip

Observe and practice storytelling and reading and create a video reading or telling a story in an imaginative way

Critical Literacy

Introduction to Critical Literacy

Critical literacy is the term used to refer to a particular aspect of critical thinking.

  • Critical literacy 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 is concerned with 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, who benefits from the text, and how the reader is influenced.  (Ontario Ministry of Education, n.d.)

  • points of view (e.g., those of people from various cultures and abilities);
  •  "own voices".  Does the author share the same identity as the characters from an underrepresented/marginalized group?
  • silences in the text - the absence of the voices of certain people or groups
  • context - the beliefs and practices of the time and place in which a text was created and those in which it is being read or viewed);
  • reader's background -  their upbringing, friends, communities, education, experiences/positionality ;
  • intertextuality - information that a reader or viewer brings to a text from other texts experienced previously;
  • gaps in the text - information that is left out and that the reader or viewer must fill in- reading between the lines;

The Activity

Using the assessment tools discussed, review the children's books for your group

Focus on one or 2 titles

Consider the books in the context of the following:

  • Contribution to a diverse environment (own voices, information & voices missing, current context)
  • Multi-dimensional characters
  • Contribution to early literacy
  • Interactive reading in the context of the book(s)
  • Opportunities to incorporate play 

Share your thoughts

Report back to the larger group, sharing your chosen book(s) and how they contribute to early literacy in a diverse environment,

  • Consider a target age group
  • What questions and prompts would you use with these books? Would they lend themselves to repeated readings, role-playing and games? How would you use play with this story? Provide examples.
  • Using the Critical literacy guidelines discussed, identify any titles you found problematic. Why?
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Pearl Herscovitch
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Email: pherscovitch@mtroyal.ca
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