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Reading Toward Equity: Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusive Classrooms Through Literary and Literacy Practices

Addressing Diversity in Literacy Instruction

ISBN: 978-1-78714-049-3, eISBN: 978-1-78714-048-6

Publication date: 3 November 2017


The goal of this chapter is to address the importance of helping teachers develop an understanding of LGBTQ+ issues and ways to create inclusive classrooms for LGBTQ+ students with particular attention to how LGBTQ+ identities/experiences can be valued and visible through literary and literacy practices. The issues addressed in this chapter are grounded in queer theory and intersectionality, which provide a space for challenging heteronormative environments in many schools as well as acknowledging the complex intersectionality of diverse identities. This framework is unpacked so readers can see how it supports instructional practices. Theory and literature inform discussion of the move in the literacy profession toward LGBTQ+ -inclusive mindsets and pedagogies. They further inform practical implications and examples provided by the author. A major issue of our time is LGBTQ+ inclusion in schools and the role of teachers in implementing literacy practices that address the needs of LGBTQ+ students and making visible their diverse identities. For the field of literacy, this is evidenced in the revision of Standard 4 Diversity and Equity in the International Literacy Association’s (ILA) Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (Standards 2017). ILA Standards 2017, which will be released in 2018, require programs preparing literacy professionals to develop candidates’ knowledge of queer theory and literacy practices inclusive of diverse students, with diversity including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Further, ILA Standards 2017 acknowledge intersectionality across forms of diversity and that a rich understanding of diversity improves the quality of teaching and learning within and across classrooms, schools, and communities. This chapter expands on these topics and offers foundational content and resources to help literacy teacher educators, candidates in literacy programs, and other stakeholders to answer this call for building a literacy field that is welcoming, inclusive, and equity-oriented. Developing the knowledge base about LGBTQ+ issues, including theoretical foundations, social justice teaching mindsets, and concrete pedagogical literacy practices that build inclusive classrooms, can be an accessible, meaningful, and fruitful endeavor that will enrich literacy education programs and the learning communities in which literacy professionals work. Teacher educators and teachers can utilize book choices, approaches to classroom discussion and assignments, and school initiatives to build a learning environment that values LGBTQ+ students’ identities and experiences and disrupts heteronormativity in the curriculum. Multiple examples of how this can be done are offered. Understanding intersectionality also helps teacher educators and teachers see how forms of diversity are not silos. Individuals’ identities are comprised of various aspects. The topics discussed in this chapter center on LGBTQ+ issues but are applicable beyond just this scope.



Dodge, A.M. (2017), "Reading Toward Equity: Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusive Classrooms Through Literary and Literacy Practices", Ortlieb, E. and Cheek, E.H. (Ed.) Addressing Diversity in Literacy Instruction (Literacy Research, Practice and Evaluation, Vol. 8), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 135-154.



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