Open Access Dissertation
Date of Award
Marshall F. Zumberg
Gerald R. Oglan
CRITICAL LITERACY: AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO LEARNING AMONG STUDENTS WITH READING DISABILITIES
KARYN M. CHIAPELLA
Co-Advisors: Dr. Marshall Zumberg; Dr. Gerald Oglan
Major: Special Education
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Many students, particularly those with learning disabilities do not read and/ or write at levels sufficient for meeting the demands of the 21st century. Successfully reading to learn requires the ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information from multiple texts. Critical literacy provides a framework for students to engage in dialogue with texts to become more aware of the relationships of power communicated within texts. This study offers a case study of a 7th grade English classroom and its teacher utilizing a critical literacy model. The development of this model advocates for all students to question texts for issues of power, especially disparities within social contexts, like poverty, class, race, sexual orientation, etc. Becoming ‘critically literate’ means students have developed the ability to know and understand whose voice/ position holds power and whose does not. Teachers help students to understand the role of language in the social construction of self. This study urges educators to examine their beliefs and role in the classroom. This study further concludes educators need to have a better understanding of critical literacy before it can take root in our classrooms. Findings highlight how students drew upon and used diverse texts, dialogue, and social critique to situate themselves in larger social discourses and enact change in the world. These findings were collectively analyzed to find common themes and threads in the units under study. The research study, experiences, and findings invite further exploration of the importance and significance of critical literacy in today’s classrooms.
Keywords: semiotics, critical literacy, pedagogy, sociocultural, pop culture, power, social disparity, equality, social discourse, discourse, language, special education.
Chiapella, Karyn Marie, "Critical Literacy: An Innovative Approach To Learning Among Students With Reading Disabilities" (2016). Wayne State University Dissertations. 1369.