Critical Literacy and Social Action

larsonOne of the classes I enjoy teaching the most is Literacy Learning as Social Practice. A key reason is the final assignment. Students do a critical literacy project where they identify a social issue or problem they are interested in investigating, research that problem, and then develop a social action that addresses that problem. For critical literacy, the action taken is a crucial step. Finally, they connect what they do to practice. Students experience this process as learners so they can think deeply about how they can take these practices to their own classroom.

Several years ago, we developed a website to show all our projects ( The idea was to construct a space where like-minded teachers can go to find ideas about literacy activities that have authentic audiences and purposes. The projects are incredible. Students have examined graffiti, the needs of refugees, poverty, inequitable access to higher education, among many other projects. Each time the course is offered, the site is updated. Join us in changing the world!

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Joanne Larson

Author: Joanne Larson

Joanne Larson is the Michael W. Scandling Professor of Education at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester. She is the author of “Radical Equality in Education: Starting Over in U.S. Schooling” (Routledge, 2014).