Reading Everybody’s Child: Teaching Literacy as a Human Right
Denny Taylor: This chapter is about the ways in which teachers can use literacy to support children who struggle for their human rights. In an increasingly chaotic world it is a hopeful piece because it is about teachers and recognizes that teachers have knowledge and understandings that can make a difference in the life of everybody’s child (Taylor & Yamasaki, 2006). Teachers know about human development. Teachers recognize the importance of children’s cultural heritage, the languages they speak and the social groups to which they belong. Teachers’ pedagogical practices are informed by their deep understandings of sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics. They are critically conscious of the ways in which the programs they are made to use and the tests that they are forced to give do not reflect the language abilities and life experiences of the children that they teach. In the first section of this chapter I present a rationale for the statements I have just made and I frame my argument with a view of science that counters the view of science promoted by the U.S. federal government in laws that control the ways in which reading and writing are taught. Then, Bobbie Kabuto uses the framework to introduce us to her daughter Emma, to her languages and literacies, and to what happened to Emma when she went to school. Bobbie’s ethnographic study provides support for the arguments presented in the first section and deepens our understandings of recognizing how important it is to embrace the language ideologies of young children when they learn to write. In the last section Bobbie and I reflect on Emma’s experiences and the important lessons her experiences provide.