This paper aims to explore alternative literacy instruction with incarcerated youth, add to the body of existing literature documenting the literacy of those incarcerated and investigate the construction of book clubs through a critical lens.
This qualitative case study answered the following research questions: What can a critical book club reveal about the literacy lives of these incarcerated youth? What can we learn from incarcerated youth through a critical book club? Data were collected through participant observation and in-depth interviews and analyzed using a critical literacy framework.
Findings indicate students used text connections to critically reflect on selves and schools. They questioned issues of power, particularly the power of literacy in their own lives as well as the power of schools, teachers and curriculum. The paper concludes with the authors’ critical reflection on both the findings and process which results in implications for future book clubs in settings with incarcerated youth.
As educators, administrators and community members living in the “age of incarceration” (Hill, 2013), there is a social responsibility to design curriculum and pedagogy that expands instruction in correctional facilities.
The need for expanded literacy instruction in juvenile detention centers has been widely documented and supported; however, conventional methods of teaching literacy are not always successful for youth who may not have had positive experiences with traditional schooling. This study expands and explores literacy instruction with incarcerated youth through book clubs, an alternative literacy structure which challenges traditional curricula, pedagogical practices and culturally irrelevant texts which often contribute to the alienation and disempowerment of many students. Book clubs can facilitate new understandings through a critical lens.
Bemiss, E.M., Doyle, J.L. and Styslinger, M.E. (2017), "Learning from students behind the fence: a critical book club with incarcerated youth", English Teaching: Practice & Critique, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 268-284. https://doi.org/10.1108/ETPC-05-2016-0067Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited