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

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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 (State Univ. of New York) argues that the sociocultural environment of the school determines the level of literacy--performative, functional, informational, and powerful--acquired by students. This environment reflects the social status of the school and the community. More affluent schools tend to focus on "powerful literacy," while working-class schools focus on "functional literacy," and middle-class schools on "'informational literacy." The focus of the school "tracks" the students into certain types of occupations, thereby creating and perpetuating inequality. Working within a frame developed by Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator, Finn has conceptualized a solution to this problem of social justice in the last five chapters, while the first ten chapters develop a coherent rationale for this solution. The author gives concrete examples of this process, showing, for example, how teachers can become more like community organizers and thereby help working-class and middle-class students develop powerful literacy. Once students, teachers, and families understand their social status, they will work cooperatively to bring about change by recognizing that "the struggle for justice and equity requires empowering education and powerful literacy." Recommended for all collections. J. F. Biter; St. Bonaventure University

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