Hilary Janks said very bluntly in her book Literacy and Power written in 2010; "Texts have designs on us.." She goes on to say that; " Critical reading, in combination with an ethic of social justice. is fundamental in order to protect our own rights and the rights of others." An article I have read this week titled; "Reading From Different Interpretive Stances: In Search of a Critical Perspective" spends time introducing its readers to the idea of having students read and respond to texts from different points of views or as the article states, 'stances". Surprisingly, it is not a new idea. It is also mentioned in the book Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire. (I had to read this book as part of this weeks reading as well) In his book, Freire said that teaching students to read critically would help them develop their own thoughts and views instead of staying oppressed and having neutral views and thoughts. He goes on to say that reading is more than decoding words, it's paying attention to how a text is written and how the author of that texts voice is understood by the reader. The article also states that being literate is more than reading and responding to texts, it is also about making choices about how you as the reader want to respond based on a situation or context.
The researchers in this article studied an instructional strategy called interpretive stance. They believe that students thinking can become critical when they learn that texts are social spaces. The researchers introduced the idea of "frames". frames are mental structures that shape the way we view the world around us. These frames have lots to do with the way we understand the texts we read. The strategy teaches students to look at texts in a few different ways. It gives students ways to, as the article states, "talk back to the text." Using this strategy helps students make choices about the way they want to respond to texts that they read. The strategy teaches student to respond to texts in six different ways:
The end results show that students were well able to express themselves using the correct terminology and could express what the terminology meant. The article further mentions that some students with learning disabilities benefited from the multimodality of the strategy. The strategy was used with older students, but I do see ways of adapting the strategy for use with students in elementary grades because I see the need for students to have experiences with texts that they read and be able to express their thoughts about that texts through thinking, writing, and speaking. Thinking critically is not something that would come naturally to students so, I do agree that teaching this strategy would be a great benefit to building literacy in our youth.
Reading From Different Interpretive Stances: In Search of a Critical Perspective is an article that was written in February of 2012 and published in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy .
Pearl Garden, Ed.D has completed her dissertation research involving understanding the vocabulary instruction practices of early grade teachers. She has a passion for the new and novice educator, and it is her goal to help educators tackle the achievement gap with her research findings. She will use this blog to share what she has learned in “pearls of literacy”. The ideas come from her dissertation titled “A Content Analysis of the Vocabulary Instruction Habits by Early Grade Teachers”.