Investigating adolescents' critical literacy practices




Bonsor Kurki, Sarah

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If today’s adolescents are not becoming critically literate, then the nearly infinite number of texts with which they engage, are being accepted blindly or simply ignored. There are adolescents who do question texts, but what are the meanings they make from them. This research focuses on the question, “How do adolescents use critical literacy to navigate/negotiate the texts in their lives?” Through classroom observation and interviews with the students as informants, I collected qualitative data that I used to develop a Critical Engagement Continuum. The Continuum provides a framework how adolescents engage with a variety of texts, from critical thinking to critical literacy. Conclusions show that most participants’ comments fell towards the critical thinking end of the continuum and few made mention of any social justice issues or transformative thinking which categorizes the critical literacy end. Recommendations are made for teachers looking to develop a critically literate classroom.



critical literacy, adolescents, critical thinking, texts, qualitative research, case study, student-centered