ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.
Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.
Teacher Resources by Grade
|1st - 2nd||3rd - 4th|
|5th - 6th||7th - 8th|
|9th - 10th||11th - 12th|
Crit Lit for Kids: From Critical Consciousness to Service Learning
|Grades||6 – 8|
|Lesson Plan Type||Unit|
|Estimated Time||Nine to eleven 60-minute sessions|
Students are introduced to concepts of social justice, such as diversity, tolerance, equity, and equality, through a literary text, class discussions, and guided research. Students plan a service-learning project, then work in small groups using Photo Story software to produce a multimedia presentation designed to foster community support for the project. Students also use the ReadWriteThink.org Printing Press to create informational fliers about the project. The lesson concludes—and the service-learning project begins—with a showing of the Photo Story productions for parents and other community members.
- Persuasion Map: Students can use this easy tool to visually break down their ideas for their service projects by sorting their information into reasons with supporting details.
- ReadWriteThink Printing Press: This handy tool allows students to publish their ideas in a variety of formats, including newspapers and booklets.
Johnson, H., & Freedman, L. (2005). Developing critical awareness at the middle level: Using texts as tools for critique and pleasure. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
- Using literature students enjoy, teachers can help students develop critical awareness and discuss social justice issues.
- Through the literature students read and subsequent discussions, teachers create the opportunity for middle-level learners to investigate themselves and their connections to the world.
- Literature about other cultures and other times provides a venue for both students and teachers to question their assumptions about themselves and the world.
Sangiuliano, G. (2005). Books on tape for kids: A language arts-based service-learning project. In R.A. Karchmer, M.H. Mallette, J. Kara-Soteriou, & D.J. Leu, Jr. (Eds.) Innovative approaches to literacy education: Using the Internet to support new literacies. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
- A successful service-learning project involves "a great deal of preparation by the teachers and volunteers, motivation from the students and parents, and support from the community." (p. 14)
- The Books on Tape for Kids project provided previously reluctant readers with an intrinsic motivation to improve their literacy skills.
- Introducing a service-learning project to other students and community members offers additional opportunities for students to develop skills in "new literacies," through authentic use of information technologies.