Migrant Students’ Emergent Conscientization through Critical, Socioculturally Responsive Literacy Pedagogy

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Journal of Literacy Research






This article analyzes data from a summer literacy program for intermediate and middle-level children of migrant farmworkers. The program was grounded in a sociocultural perspective on literacy, stressing the importance of interaction and collaboration within socioculturally responsive pedagogy, using enabling literature to empower students. Adaptations of readers’ and writers’ workshop methods, emphasizing the significance of valuing students’ individual responses, were used throughout. The students were presented with a documentary, young adult novels, and more than two dozen children’s picture storybooks representing the lives of migrant farmworkers. Then, using their own responses to these enabling mentor texts as scaffolding, the students collaborated to create illustrated narratives about growing up as migrants. The program provided a safe space that encouraged migrant students to express their experiences and concerns—normally silenced in classrooms—during literacy tasks and empowered them to ask for support. The program demonstrated the benefits of combining socioculturally responsive critical literacy pedagogy with enabling instructional materials in the development of emergent conscientization among the students. Finally, this article shows how the migrant students’ perspectives and experiences can inform and challenge teachers, citizens, and policy makers to address the systemic injustices in the lives of migrant children.