Indiana Reading Journal Volume 44 Issue 1 - Page 43


In this example published publically through VoiceThread, a first grade student shares her review of the picture book Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. In this review, the student provides a brief summary, and discusses her favorite part of the story. Next she shares how she can connect to the story stating, “I can relate to this story because we both go shopping with my grandma (, slide 3; see Figure 6). She concludes her book review by stating why she would recommend this book to her first grade teacher.

Figure 6:

When viewing this example, note the expanded audience. Comments are posted from teachers, classmates, and other interested persons within and outside the classroom community. As a producer of content, this first grade student has shifted to a teacher-led role within an authentic task. She is actively setting goals and designing content, all while paying attention to an appropriate audience for the given task.

Give it a try! Start small. Perhaps create your first book review as a class, reviewing a recently completed read aloud text. Model writing the book review using an appropriate graphic organizer. Then, have students write and post their review of the class text within the VoiceThread to share with viewers.

#3: Social action project.

HOTS level of Bloom’s: Creatingcompiling information in new ways, generating new ideas, and proposing alternate solutions

Luke & Freebody (1997) argue that texts are never neutral. Questions such as “Whose story is this?” “Who benefits from this story?” and “What voices are not being heard?” invite the students to examine text within a critical lens. Critical literacy involves moving beyond literal meaning to examine and question power, privilege, and author perspectives situated within the text (Glover & Stover, 2011). Literature becomes potential experiences, rather than a simple body of knowledge (Rosenblatt, 1998) Within critical literacy, readers are able to used lived experiences to investigate assumptions. Books become invitations for critical conversations—conversations teachers cannot afford to ignore (Vasquez, 2010)

New standards suggest we should help our students comprehend at a deeper level, looking beyond the printed word to both examine and analyze the author’s message (IDOE, 2014; NGA Center & CCSSO, 2010b). Critical literacy includes not only critical analysis but also more. This “more” includes the next steps after the critique needed to participate in social action, with students working to better the community or society at large (Leland, Harste, Ociepka, Lewison, & Vasquez, 1999, p. 71).