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Lesson Plan

Seeing Multiple Perspectives: An Introductory Critical Literacy Lesson

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Seeing Multiple Perspectives: An Introductory Critical Literacy Lesson

Grades 1 – 3
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time One 50-minute session
Lesson Author

Theodore Kesler, Ed.D.

Flushing, New York


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



In this introductory critical literacy lesson, students will consider the perspectives of central but silent characters in the picture book Stevie, by John Steptoe. They will look at the story from these characters' points of view and give voice to their thoughts and feelings, thereby gaining much deeper understandings of the story and realizing that every story truly gives just a partial account of what happened.

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  • Steptoe, J. (1969). Stevie. New York: Harper & Row.

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Critical literacy involves challenging a text by considering problem-posing questions such as: What’s missing from this account? How could it be told differently? Comber (2001) explains: “Critical literacy is not a set of finite practices.” She asserts that teachers “have to assist young people in assembling a set of discursive tactics and strategies” (p. 2). The NCTE Position Statement on Reading (1999) states: “As readers, we talk to others about what we are reading. These interactions expand and strengthen our comprehension and interpretation. In these interactions, we learn to read critically, to question what we read, and to respond in a certain way.” Further, through problem-posing questions, students learn to “uncover underlying assumptions and motives that otherwise operate invisibly.” This minilesson describes one practical way to introduce young people to discursive tactics and strategies that will expand and strengthen their comprehension and interpretation of texts.


Further Reading

Comber, Barbara. "Negotiating Critical Literacies." School Talk 6.3 (April 2001): 1-2.

National Council of Teachers of English. 1999. NCTE Position Statement on Reading. Web. http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/positiononreading

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