Negotiating Critical Literacies with Young Children. Vivian Maria Vasquez. Critical Literacy. Critical literacy arises from the social and political conditions that unfold in communities in which we live.
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Critical literacy arises from the social and political conditions that unfold in communities in which we live.
Sometimes referred to as emancipatory, powerful, proper, or transformative literacy, critical literacy examines the connection between literacy and power. It seeks to empower, liberate, and transform. It examines not only the written word to develop an understanding of how knowledge is produced and reproduced it also examines the world.
Just as Hirsch argued that language cannot be disentangled from the cultural knowledge and understandings that gives language meaning, it can be argued that critical literacy cannot be disentangled from the cultural, social, political, ideological and economic constructs of the society which gives it meaning.
It is important to note that critical literacy does not necessarily involve taking a negative stance. Instead it is the ability to analyze and question issues of social justice and equity. Furthermore, it means looking at such issues or topics in different ways and from different perspectives.
In Vasquez’s experience rather than being overly serious, conversations were enjoyable because the topics discussed were socially relevant to her and her students.
“We did not integrate the issues raised into a curriculum; that is, we did not add critical literacy as a extracurrcular item. Nor did we treat sical issues as unoffical classroom agenda. Instead, the issues became central to our curriculum; they became the stuff that our curriculum was made of.”