This text offers pre-service and in-service teachers pragmatic strategies for teaching middle grades literacy in culturally proactive and sustaining ways. By demystifying big ideas and complex concepts, Domínguez and Seglem provide clear pathways and lessons for illuminating and engaging with race, ethnicity, culture, and identity in the middle grade English Language Arts classroom. While addressing social justice, equity , diversity, and liberation can seem intimidating or unrelated to classroom practice, the authors demonstrate how weaving such questions into instruction benefits students’ development. 

The guidance, strategies, and lessons in this book provide an answer to the question, What does decolonial literacy teaching look like? Concrete but not prescriptive, the authors encourage us to reconsider accepted logics of schooling, so that we can better support adolescents as they navigate complex identity landscapes. Bringing together disparate conversations around reading, writing, identity, and decolonial thinking, and specifically tailored to the middle grades, this book serves as a comprehensive toolkit for praxis and covers such topics as cultural change, community connections, and racial literacy. Each chapter features tips on reading and writing instruction, Teacher Spotlights, Planning Questions, and Additional Resources to make it easy for educators to apply the strategies to their own contexts.

An accessible entry to addressing challenging questions around identity in the classroom, this book is essential reading in courses and professional development on ELA and literacy methods as well as teaching culturally and linguistically diverse students. For teachers looking to push toward equity and reshape literacy education so that it serves all middle grade students, Dominguez and Seglem offer plenty of accessible and motivating places to start.


Why This Book?

How to Approach This Book

What to Expect from This Text

Part I: In Dialogue / Desconocimientos

Chapter 1: Why Decolonize Our Classrooms?

Coloniality & Decoloniality: A Primer

Colonization v. Coloniality

Thinking Differently as Decoloniality

Resources to Explore: Growing Our Knowledge of a Neo-Colonial World

Chapter 2: What Is Racial Literacy?

What Is Race? A Quick Primer for Decolonial Educators

Race and Middle Grades

Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Identity Development for BIPoC Youth

Building Racial Literacies as Decolonial Praxis

Making Decolonization Normal

Questions to Consider While Planning for Racially Literate Praxis

Resources to Explore: Coming to Terms with Our Own Racial Literacies

Part II: In Praxis / Travesias

Chapter 3: Decolonized Classrooms...Nurture Introspection

Complicated Racial Landscapes

Reading Instruction to Trace Community Histories

Writing Instruction to Practice Our Self-Narration

Pushing Past Racial Discomfort

Challenge in Practice

Questions to Consider While Planning for Introspection

Resources to Explore: Looking Inward to Understand One Another

Assessment Alternatives

Technology Spotlight

Chapter 4: Decolonized Classrooms...Connect Humans to One Another

Abolishing Zero Point Thinking

Reading Instruction to Nurture Interconnection

Writing Instruction to Foster Empathy

Building a Holistic Ecology in the Classroom

Challenge in Practice

Questions to Consider While Planning for Human Connections

Resources to Explore: Connecting through Restorative Practices

Assessment Alternatives

Technology Spotlight

Chapter 5: Decolonized Classrooms...Position Everyone as Experts

Disrupting Colonial Expertise

Reading Instruction to Validate Youth Expertise

Writing Instruction to Sustain Community Literacy

Closing the Cultural Gaps Between Ourselves and Our Students

Challenge in Practice

Questions to Consider While Planning to Position Everyone as Experts

Resources to Explore: Sharing Expertise through Storytelling

Assessment Alternatives

Technology Spotlight

Chapter 6: Decolonized Classrooms...Ask Challenging Questions

Challenging Reductive Knowledge

Reading Instruction to Get at Big Ideas

Writing Instruction to Engage with the World

Making Classroom Literacy Consequential

Challenge in Practice

Questions to Consider While Planning for Challenging Questions

Resources to Explore: Supporting Students’ Development of Challenging Questions

Assessment Alternatives

Technology Spotlight

Chapter 7: Decolonized Classrooms...Disrupt "Normal"

A New Way to Think of the Banking Method

Reading and Speaking Instruction to Build Radical Consensus

Disrupting the Activity System of Normalized Schooling

Challenge in Practice

Questions to Consider While Planning to Disrupt Normal

Resources to Explore: Looking Beyond the ELA Staples

Assessment Alternatives

Technology Spotlight

Chapter 8: Decolonized Classrooms…Leverage a Multilingual World

Linguistic Hegemony and Coloniality

Reading Instruction to Master Language Use

Writing Instruction to Encourage Code-Meshing

Language, Identity, and Decoloniality

Challenge in Practice

Questions to Consider While Planning for a Multilingual World

Resources to Explore: Expanding our Conception of Language and Praxis

Assessment Alternatives

Technology Spotlight

Chapter 9: Decolonized Classrooms...Nurture Cultural Change

Reacting to Cultural Change

Reading Instruction to Remix Futures

Writing Instruction to Sustain Youth Creativity

Honoring Middle School Youth as the Creators of New Worlds

Challenge in Practice

Questions to Consider While Planning for Nurturing Cultural Change

Resources to Explore: Nurturing Change through Art

Assessment Alternatives

Technology Spotlight

Part III: Pragmatic Vision / Conocimientos

Chapter 10: Decolonized Educators...Navigate Tight Spaces in a Changing Educational Landscape

Teaching in a Neocolonial Climate of Fear

Cultural Artifacts in Education

Discourse in Education

Identity in Education

Chapter 11: Decolonized Educators….Discover Ways to Sustain Their Practice

Sustaining our Commitments to Decolonization through Interconnection

Sustain our Connections to Students and Community

Learning about Student Practices: Community Ethnographies

Learning about Community Dynamics: Power Analysis and Mapping

Building Peer Networks to Sustain Decolonial Practice

Resources to Explore: Reading as a Sustaining Practice

Chapter 12: A Few Last Thoughts on Our Decolonizing Efforts

Make Maps, Not Tracings

Epistemic Disobedience and Sustainability

Pragmatic Vision and the Decolonial