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Critical Literacy in the Classroom

Inside the Classroom: Education majors learn to approach society’s issues through children’s literature.

how to steal a dog

How to Steal a Dog. copyright © 2007 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux; By Barbara O’Connor. Used by permission of Square Fish, an imprint of Macmillan. All rights reserved.

Critical Literacy in the Classroom

Inside the Classroom: Education majors learn to approach society’s issues through children’s literature.

Instructor: Sara Philips, lecturer at the College of Education

 

Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30-10:50 a.m., or Wednesdays 4-6:30 p.m.

Students should be seeking certification as an elementary school teacher

Fulfills TCU Core Curriculum credits for Literary Traditions (LT) and Humanities (HUM)

 

Course description:

An introduction to the analytical study of children’s literature, the course focuses on children’s books that grapple with difficult social issues. Students explore books that go beyond “happily ever after” and learn how authors deal with topics such as homelessness, divorce, race, war, disabilities, gender and sexual orientation. The course introduces strategies for integrating children’s literature into an elementary school curriculum.

 

Main Text: Multicultural Children’s Literature: A Critical Issues Approach by Ambika G. Gopalakrishnan (SAGE Publications, 2011)

 

Students choose four of the following children’s books:

 

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (David Fickling Books, 2006)

Almost Home by Joan Bauer (Puffin Books, 2013)

How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor (Square Fish, 2009)

Loser by Jerry Spinelli (HarperCollins, 2003)

Wonder by R. J. Palacio (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2012)

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan (Scholastic Press, 2000)

Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs (HarperCollins, 2007)

 

Grading:

Attendance and in-class contributions (100 points)

Peer evaluations (50 points)

Reader’s Workshop, an online journal (50 points)

Reading Checkpoints, which are pop quizzes to gauge completion of assigned readings (50 points)

Ten book reviews posted to Goodreads (100 points)

Book “teaser” presentation (100 points)

Discussion groups and Reader’s Response journal (200 points)

Social justice/critical literacy project (400 points)

Cultivation of a set of texts to address a social injustice (50 points)

Two interviews of children who read a selected text (50 points)

Social justice reflection paper (100 points)

Development of an online teaching resource (100 points)

In-class presentation of social justice topic (100 points)