RM Winter 2016 FLIP

series of important questions. In Table 2, Silvers and Shorey (2012) provide excellent questions to consider (p.15). Table 2. Critical questions • Whose voices are heard? Whose voices are absent? • What does the author/illustrator want the reader to think/understand? • What is an alternative to the author/illustrator’s message? • How will a critical reading of this text help me change my views or actions in relation to other people? How does this text confirm or challenge a personal experience you have had related to this issue? As Winogard (2015) reminds us “when the teacher asks just the right questions to get students to consider multiple perspectives, the bias of the author, and the larger political context of the events, this moves the discussion and analysis into the realm of the ‘critical’. The quality of the teacher’s questions are crucial when doing critical literacy, as it is in all teaching” (p. 109). After a “deep” discussion of the texts, I recommend creating a continuum of where the texts fall in relation to one another--similar to Short’s (2011) activity around poverty with children in a primary level classroom. Depending on the reading level of the students, a classroom teacher can add other texts as well to deepen the discussion and broaden the continuum (see Short et al, 2013). You can also invite the students to create either a play or poem depicting the social justice issue in an effort to access multiple modalities in the interpretive process. For more in-depth suggestions for developing a critical literacy curriculum with young children see Winograd, (2015). to provide students with nonfiction books or other sources to aid their understanding. Through discussion, creation, and reflection of multiple texts and resources (print, digital, artistic) facilitated by teachers, early childhood students can brainstorm actions that could be taken by the class to create some level of local change. Such activities would help students to understand the root causes and circumstances behind social justice issues and give them opportunities to create meaningful change—in their own way—through authentic learning experiences that reflect multiliteracies (Silvers & Shorey, 2012) and literacy as a social practice (Vazquez, Egaway, Harste, & Thompson, 2004). Sandra: A Literacy Teacher Educator’s Perspective The pedagogical challenge of going beyond a pedestrian approach provoked me (Sandra), as a teacher educator, to make changes in how I approach courses addressing content and pedagogy in literacy development. I asked myself: How do I model and facilitate authentic university-level classroom activities that go beyond a pedestrian approach to social justice-themed children’s literature? How do I integrate theory and practice about social justice children’s literature more strategically and explicitly? For me, the answers to these questions are still in process. However, in what follows I share four recommendations for literacy teacher educators. To enrich the discussion and provide the students with an understanding as to why social justice issues occur, it is important

social action around social justice issues as evidenced by Cowhey in the above discussion of her routine classroom practices. Table 1. Taking Authentic Action: Going Beyond a Pedestrian Approach • Framing issue along a dynamic continuum • Investigating root causes and circumstances • Inviting activists or community members into the school to discuss current needs and action taking place around identified needs • Becoming familiar with community sites by interviewing individuals connected with community spaces (i.e. food banks, shelters, etc.) • Co-constructing (with community members) inquiry-based action projects with the aim of challenging stereotypes and removing stigma • Anticipating possible consequences of action • Engaging in reflection on what occurs and accepting responsibility for the consequences (or lack thereof) • Consider strategies for sustaining or revising action taken Adapted from Cowhey (2006); Short (2011); Silvers & Shorey (2012);Winograd (2015) Implications for Practice: Thinking Toward the Future It is important for students to understand more than the area they live in; that there is a much bigger world awaiting them that they should take the time to understand. Living in the technologically immersed society that we live in today means that as teachers we need to prepare our students to be global citizens able to function and thrive in their future lives. The pedagogical challenge we described provoked both of us to revisit critical literacy and children’s literature scholarship as a way of preparing ourselves to move beyond read-alouds with picture books centered around social justice issues. In addition to revisiting children’s literature scholarship in this focus area, the pedagogical challenge provoked both of us to consider implications for our future practices. In the next section, we provide recommendations for practice in early childhood classrooms and university classrooms. Jill: An Early Childhood Classroom Teacher’s Perspective After reflecting on the pedagogical challenge and revisiting the scholarship, I (Jill) uncovered several strategies for moving beyond a pedestrian approach to picture book read-alouds, specifically those highlighting social justice centered issues. Here I offer some ideas for teachers to consider implementing, using children’s literature in early childhood classrooms. Given the goal of engaging students in taking meaningful action around social justice issues, I recommend the following strategies. First, begin by reading several similarly themed social justice picture books aloud to the students without showing the illustrations. The intention behind this is to allow the students to construct their own illustrations of the story, share their own personal experiences, and provide you with a window into their thinking on the social justice issue being highlighted in the literature (Botelho & Rudman, 2009). After having read the books, ask students to create their own illustrations for each book. Following a “picture walk” sharing session of student-created picture book illustrations, the class can discuss each book using a critical lens and asking a

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