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EDUC 2371


  1. Objectives
  2. Introduction to Critical Literacy
  3. Introduce evaluating guides
    1. Our Words, Our Ways (Appendix 6, Evaluating Resources About Aboriginal Peoplespg. 164-166) - A resource from Alberta Education
    2. Critical Indigenous Literacy for Children’s Picture Books (A resource from UBC)
    3. Example
  4. Group Activity
  5. Discussion
  6. Summary & closing


By the end of class, you will be able to:

  1. Find the EDUC 2371 library course guide for this class
  2. Describe the basic concepts of critical literacy
  3. Examine an indigenous children's books with a critical literacy lens
  4. Share ideas about suitability and appropriateness of specific indigenous children's books

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);
    • context (e.g., 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);
    • the background of the person who is interacting with the text (e.g., upbringing, friends, communities, education, experiences);
    • intertextuality (e.g., information that a reader or viewer brings to a text from other texts experienced previously);
    • gaps in the text (e.g., information that is left out and that the reader or viewer must fill in);
    • silences in the text (e.g., the absence of the voices of certain people or groups).
  • Critical Indigenous Literacy:
    • To think about:
      • Authorship and identity in relation to the stories and teachings we trust as reader
      • Character/content representation
      • Misinformation

Small Group Activity: 

  1. Review three books from your group using the "Evaluating Resources About Aboriginal Peoples"
  2. Create a Google Doc to capture your ideas about your group's books
  3. Prepare to share at least one of those books in the full group discussion
  4. Use these questions to guide the discussion
    • What did you discover about your source?
    • Do you think your source presents accurate and objective information about Aboriginal cultures, contributions and experiences over time?  Why or why not?
    • Considering the above, and your knowledge about what makes a good children's book, would you consider your book an appropriate one to use for a learning experience?


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Pearl Herscovitch

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