Cover image for Literacy with an attitude : educating working-class children in their own self-interest
Literacy with an attitude : educating working-class children in their own self-interest
Finn, Patrick J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Albany : State University of New York Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiii, 243 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LC5051 .F56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
LC5051 .F56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A passionate plea for teachers, parents, and community organizers to give working-class children the same type of empowering education and powerful literacy skills that the children of upper- and middle-class people receive. Strategies for reaching and teaching these children are presented.

Author Notes

Patrick J. Finn is Associate Professor in the Department of Learning and Instruction at State University of New York at Buffalo.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Finn's thesis is that US society sponsors schools that provide two kinds of literacy, a powerful literacy with its attendant rewards of wealth and status, and a functional literacy that perpetuates a social underclass limited in their opportunity for economic or social progress. Those who benefit from powerful literacy have contributed to the status quo and have little interest in altering it. The author's position is that there are two factors necessary to change this dynamic for the undereducated: teacher educators who recognize that classroom opportunities must improve for lower-class students, and the parents of these students, and interested others, who must organize at the grassroots level and demand better education. His model for a community organizer is Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. Whether there is a sufficient parallel between what Freire accomplished for barely literate Brazilian adults and what occurs for students in the US is an open question, but this second edition provides a thoughtful analysis of how to change what many recognize as a two-tiered school system that underserves the economically disadvantaged. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. D. E. Tanner California State University, Fresno

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
1. Title, Author, and Hard-Bitten Schoolteachersp. 1
2. A Distinctively Un-American Idea: An Education Appropriate to Their Stationp. 9
3. Harsh Schools, Big Boys, and the Progressive Solutionp. 27
4. Oppositional Identity: Identifying "Us" as "Not Them"p. 39
5. The Ladsp. 53
6. Changing Conditions--Entrenched Schoolsp. 63
7. Class, Control, Language, and Literacyp. 81
8. Where Literacy "Emerges"p. 95
9. Where Children Are Taught to Sit Still and Listenp. 111
10. The Last Straw: There's Literacy, and Then There's Literacyp. 121
11. Literacy with an Attitudep. 129
12. Not Quite Making Literacy Dangerous Againp. 137
13. Making Literacy Dangerous Againp. 155
14. Taking Sidesp. 173
15. Mad as Hell, and Not Going to Take It Any Morep. 189
Notesp. 209
Referencesp. 229
Indexp. 239