Children's Literature Promotes Understanding

“If you read novels written from the point of view of a child from another culture or set in another country, you’re providing an opportunity for your students to stand in the shoes of another: that is critical literacy. If your students hear stories about people who practice religions different than their own or if they consider the differences between their lives and the lives of people like them who lived through war, the Great Depression, or the Civil Rights movement, that too is critical literacy. If you ask you students to write from the point of view of someone much older than they are, that’s critical literacy. These activities all serve the same purpose: they help the student to see the world through someone else’s eyes, to learn to understand other people’s circumstances and perspectives and to empathize with them”
— Thibault, para. 11

I have had the opportunity to learn about ways to foster a culturally linguistic and responsive classroom from Dr. Sharocky Hollie over the past year. In working with him, he has pointed out these very ideas regarding critical literacy. He offers an abundance of diverse resources for schools, as well as activities to have your learners practice.

Dr. Hollie, along with Christian Long’s view of empathy in the classroom (Wonder by Design, 2013), has helped my instruction further develop toward a culture that nurtures empathy, grit, and diversity. I believe that critical literacy is unmistakably paired with cognitive strategies, as it begs for learners to apply their understandings to the world and their place within it.

Thibault, M. (n.d.). Children's literature promotes understanding. Retrieved March 11, 2017, from