Literacy as Action—Empowering Students

  • P. L. Thomas
Part of the Explorations of Educational Purpose book series (EXEP, volume 5)

The argument of this text focuses on the reality of the twenty-first century: Literacy in the twenty-first century is bound by scripts. This reality is diametrically opposite of the hope for literacy embodied by Freire (1993) and Greene (1995), who represent a critical pedagogy embracing the inextricable relationship between authentic literacy and individual empowerment. While we have described throughout the previous chapters the many scripts that restrict literacy instruction and essentially cheap students and their teachers, in the last chapters, we will turn to exploring how we can transform literacy instruction, how we can overcome those scripts. This chapter will focus on adolescent and early adult learners in middle school through graduate coursework and how we can move beyond scripts in literacy practices.

While the scripts that narrow and corrupt literacy instruction and assessment are powerful—reinforced by tradition, funding, and mandates—individual teachers, departments, and grade-level teams, schools, and districts are able to make shifts toward authentic literacy instruction while simultaneously fulfilling bureaucratic and accountability expectations and requirements. One key argument of our final chapters is that literacy teachers do not have to choose between best practice in literacy and the obligations of mandates, standards, and high-stakes testing. In fact, I believe and have experienced the reality that best practice in literacy often exceeds the expectations of mandates, standards, and high-stakes testing. Here, I will discuss how we should and can rethink writing in and beyond school, how we should break free of the traditional canon and school reading, and how we must create literacy assessments that inform our teaching and empower our students, instead of labeling and ranking those students through narrow views of literacy.


Literacy Instruction Direct Instruction English Teacher Writing Process Literacy Practice 
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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

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  • P. L. Thomas

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