Critical Literacy: Reading the Word and the World
Raising Our Critical Consciousness “Reading does not consist merely of decoding the written word of language; rather, it is preceded by and intertwined with knowledge of the world.” (Freire & Macedo, 1987, 29)
Roles of Critical Readers Freebody & Luke (2003) suggest critical readers and writers need to:
Far-Reaching Influences Critical literacy influences, and has been influenced by, research in feminism, anti-racism, multiculturalism and queer theory: it seeks to uncover marginalized/silenced voices and make readers aware of what is missing in the cultural/ societal dialogue. One goal of critical literacy is to challenge unequal power relations. Thus it becomes part of a wider social justice project.
Example from the media: “But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was.” Geraldo Rivera, “Trayvon Martin's Hoodie Is as Much Responsible For His Death as George Zimmerman,” Fox News, March 23, 2012 (video link)
Example from the media: Geraldo Rivera has entered the public discussion about Trayvon Martin’s death by blaming the Florida teenager's choice of dress... The teen’s death and the lack of arrest have sparked protests and inspired a “Million Hoodie March” Wednesday in New York. It attracted hundreds of protesters, many of them wearing hoodies... Perhaps reacting to Rivera’s comments, at some point someone off camera can be heard saying, “Uh oh.” [Jesse] Jackson was later reached by Politico and said he preferred not to “dignify” Rivera’s on-air comments. “It’s a diversion from the pain of a child who should be alive,” Jackson said. DalinaCastellanos, “Geraldo Rivera: Hoodie responsible for Trayvon Martin's death”, Los Angeles Times, March 23, 2012
Example from the government: “Large, undereducated swaths of the population damage the ability of the United States to physically defend itself, protect its secure information, conduct diplomacy, and grow its economy. The unrelenting gap separating peers from peers also renders the American Dream off limits to many young people. Task Force members fear this inequality may have a long-term effect on U.S. culture and civil society.” Joel Klein & Condoleezza Rice (chairs), “US Education Reform and National Security,” Council on Foreign Relations, 2012
Example from the blogosphere: “The new report seems to look at public schools as if they are the bad guys that need to be put out of business, with a new business taking over, funded with public dollars.” Valerie Strauss, “Condi Rice-Joel Klein report: Not the new ‘A Nation at Risk’,” Washington Post blog , March 20, 2012.
Example from Wikipedia: “The following day's auction saw a further three Banksy works reach soaring prices: Ballerina with Action Man Parts reached £96,000... Banksy updated his website with a new image of an auction house scene showing people bidding on a picture that said, "I Can't Believe You Morons Actually Buy This Shit.“ Collins, Lauren (14 May 2007). "Banksy Was Here: The invisible man of graffiti art". The New Yorker. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
Another advertising example: Blow in her face and she’ll follow you anywhere.
Example of a visual text: A new literacy: making connections in electronic environments Animation by Michael McCarthy; Script and Narration by Frank Romanelli
References: • Freebody, P. & Luke, A. (2003). Literacy as engaging with new forms of life: the four roles' model, in G. Bull and M. Anstey (eds), The Literacy Lexicon. 2nd ed, pp 52-7. Sydney: Prentice Hall. • Freire, P. & Macedo, D. (1987). Literacy: Reading the Word and the World. London: Bergin and Garvey. • Larson, J. & Marsh, J. (2005). Making literacy real: Theories and practices for learning and teaching. London & California: SAGE Publications Ltd.