How to encourage your child to become a critical thinker For parents of students in primary, junior and middle grades What is critical literacy? "Literacy is about more than reading and writing Visit historical sites, read markers, monuments – it is about how we communicate in society. It and plaques and discuss the perspectives - is about social practices and relationships, about which perspectives/facts are missing from these knowledge, language and culture. Literacy finds historical sites its place in our lives alongside other ways of When your child raises an issue with you, communicating. Indeed, literacy itself takes analyze it together from different perspectives: many forms: on paper, on the computer screen, raise questions about fairness and equity on TV, on posters and signs. Those who use When reading with your child, discuss how the literacy take it for granted – but those who author uses language and images to influence cannot use it are excluded from much the reader communication in today’s world. Indeed, it is Take your child to diverse communities to the excluded who can best appreciate the notion experience different cultures and talk about of 'literacy as freedom'." what you see, hear, smell, taste and touch (UNESCO, Statement for the United Nations Literacy Decade, 2003–2012) What are some problem-posing questions for discussion? Why is critical literacy important? What gender is represented in the text? We live in a rapidly changing, high-tech global What gender is missing? village. Children are inundated with the What gender is marginalized? marketing of ideas and products in the media Who is doing all the talking? and on the internet. They need to be able to How might the story/advertisement change if critically analyze these messages and make another gender was inserted? meaning from all that they read hear and see. How is the family portrayed? Are these families realistic? How can you support your child in What point of view is presented by the becoming critically literate? author/characters/photographer/illustrator? What ethnic group or race is most common? What ethnic group or race is least common? Engage in conversations with your child Are people with particular body types, clothes, when watching television skin colour represented? Listen to popular music and discuss the What images are not apparent? lyrics Are any people with disabilities represented? Watch music videos and talk about the images that are portrayed Look through newspapers, magazines and catalogues and discuss the images that are represented and those that are not Tip sheet prepared by Beth Gunding, Instructional Discuss advertisements in the media and ask Co-ordinator (ESL/ELD) and Marta Mulhern, 'problem-posing questions' Instructional Co-ordinator (Literacy). Visit "Parents Boost Learning" at www.peelschools.org for more parent tip sheets.
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