Toward a Literacy of Promise
Joining the African American Struggle
Edited by Linda A. Spears-Bunton, Rebecca Powell
Routledge – 2008 – 224 pages
"[This book] gives us strategies for bringing life back to school; it allows us to think creatively about connecting instruction to the lives of children who have not been well-served; it helps us learn to value the gifts with words our children of color bring; and it gives us hope for educating a generation that can change the status quo, that will build the America we have yet to see…the one that made that as-yet-unfulfilled promise of ‘liberty and justice for all.’"
Lisa Delpit, From the Foreword
Toward a Literacy of Promise examines popular assumptions about literacy and challenges readers to question how it has been used historically both to empower and to oppress. The authors offer an alternative view of literacy – a "literacy of promise" – that charts an emancipatory agenda for literacy instructional practices in schools. Weaving together critical perspectives on pedagogy, language, literature, and popular texts, each chapter provides an in-depth discussion that illuminates how a literacy of promise can be realized in school and classrooms. Although the major focus is on African American middle and secondary students as a population that has experienced the consequences of inequality, the chapters demonstrate general and specific applications to other populations.
"Toward a Literacy of Promise" is an unashamed, courageous and deeply reflective look at literacy education in the lives of African American adolescents. It is theoretically rich, and practically clever, culturally complex and highly relevant to teacher education in the American context and teaching literacy in the 21st century."--Education Review
"From discussions of ways literacy instruction has been withheld from, foisted upon, but rarely reveled in or revelatory for African American students to the rich discussions of critical literacy in classrooms, Toward a Literacy of Promise has it all – theory, research, history, personal stories, and visions for teaching."--Carole Edelsky, Arizona State University
"Eloquent, passionate and informed by a deep understanding of theory, history and critical pedagogy, this volume demonstrates vital pathways to empowering social change teaching. Through transformative literacy instruction–the 'literacy of promise'–the authors model powerful teaching that challenges us to overcome complacency, ignorance and fear."--Joyce E. King, Georgia State University
Foreword Lisa Delpit
1 Introduction Rebecca Powell
PART I: PROBLEMS AND PROMISES
2 Along the Road to Social Justice: A Literacy of Promise Linda A. Spears-Bunton and Rebecca Powell
3 "Unbanking" Education: Exploring Constructs of Knowledge, Teaching, Learning Letitia Hochstrasser Fickel
4 Resistance, Reading, Writing, and Redemption: Defining Moments in Literacy and the Law Sherman G. Helenese, Linda A. Spears-Bunton and Kimberly L. Bunton
PART II: REALIZING A LITERACY OF PROMISE THROUGH LITERARY TEXTS
5 "Educational, Controversial, Provocative, and Personal": Three African American Adolescent Males Reflect on Critically Framing of A Lesson Before Dying Julia Johnson Connor and Arlette Ingram Willis
6 The Obscured White Voice in the Literacy Debate: Race, Space and Gender Linda A. Spears-Bunton
PART III: REALIZING A LITERACY OF PROMISE THROUGH ORAL AND POPULAR TEXTS
7 Ebonics and the Struggle for Cultural Voice in U. S. Schools Ira Kincade Blake
8 The Potential of Oral Language for Empowerment Jessica S. Bryant
9 Voices of Our Youth: Antiracist Social Justice Theatre Arts Makes a Difference in the Classroom Karen B. McLean Donaldson
10 The Promise of Critical Media Literacy Rebecca Powell
Linda A. Spears-Bunton is Associate Professor of English Education and an affiliated faculty member in African New World Studies at Florida International University, Miami, Florida.
Rebecca Powell currently serves as Dean of Education at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky, where she has taught since 1993. She holds the Marjorie Bauer Stafford Endowed Professorship and was awarded the Cawthorne Excellence in Teaching Award in 2003.