the future of libraries in the digital age
Your Name and Title:
Lynne Oakvik, Specialist, Library Media K-12, Literacy Department
Library, School, or Organization Name:
Broward County Public Schools
Margaret Livingston, Curriculum Supervisor, Literacy Department
Area of the World from Which You Will Present:
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.A.
Language in Which You Will Present:
School Librarians K-12
Short Session Description (one line):
Creating Critical Thinkers with Culturally Relevant Texts
Full Session Description (as long as you would like):
In 2011-12, Broward County Public Schools began the first phase of a culturally relevant literacy initiative in the district’s two lowest achieving high schools and its department of juvenile justice alternative support facilities. The purpose of this effort is to improve graduation rates by re-engaging the disengaged, adolescent student in learning and provide support for substantial gains in literacy skills through challenging, complex literacy tasks with culturally relevant texts, meaningful writing tasks, and critical inquiry and research.
Drawing upon the work of Dr. Alfred Tatum’s transformational literacy model of building “textual lineages” through “enabling texts,” students are emotionally and intellectually challenged to re-connect with themselves through literacy by addressing four key platforms: Defining Self, Becoming Resilient, Engaging Others, and Building Capacity. In his book, Reading For Their Life, (Re) Building The Textual Lineages Of African American Adolescent Males (2009), Dr. Tatum provides a powerful argument for the careful selection and integration of enabling texts that are both rigorous and culturally relevant to students, daily writing for students’ voices to be heard, and opportunities for extended research and inquiry into real-world problems. This approach directly addresses a growing body of research that has established a powerful link between engagement and the types of texts used for instruction that, in turn, can lead to improved academic performance. “Youths are not failing to engage texts; many of the texts we teach in schools are failing to engage youth.” (Maher, 2004). Rather than offering these students more remediation, the initiative honors and recognizes their capabilities and holds them accountable for rigorous, complex literacy learning as defined by the College and Career Readiness goals of the Common Core State Standards.
A key element in the successful implementation is the on-going collaboration between the district’s Division of Instruction and Interventions Literacy Department, classroom teachers, and library media specialists who assist with identifying culturally relevant texts and support instruction with the state research process model, FINDS. Through a series of online resources and webinars, the district is creating and providing a collaborative discussion forum to offer continuous professional learning support and feedback to teachers and library media specialists. The integration of digital tools, resources and sharing of best practices provide opportunities for district curriculum specialists, classroom teachers and library media specialists to share best practices for re-designing instructional frameworks. Through the careful selection of culturally relevant and rigorous texts, Broward County Public Schools is helping our disengaged students discover their own voices through self-expression and rigorous, deeper understanding of content, while developing critical thinking skills through the integration of inquiry and research-vital skills for the 21st century learner.
Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session: