What perspective is communicated in the texts our students read?  What cultural norms and assumptions are embedded in the literature we use in our classrooms each day? How do we introduce conversations about culture in the classroom? Do the texts our students read represent their own diversity?

Culturally Responsive Literature Instruction begins with an examination of linguistic associations and the use of vocabulary to discuss texts. Professor Mason then introduces the concept of critical literacy, recognizing that cultural assumptions are embedded within literature. Participants will learn to take a critical stance when analyzing a text and consider how to introduce this conversation in the classroom, inviting all students to engage in discussion of culture. Finally, Professor Mason introduces resources for culturally sustaining literature, as participants identify next steps for their own instruction.

The program is a mix of self-paced learning, group discussion, and job-embedded application that will help educators reexamine the literature currently in taught in their schools. Participants will learn tools and tips from the online lessons that they can weave directly into practice in their classrooms or schools.

By completing the program, you will be able to:

  • Identify how language is used to portray culture
  • Identify what cultural assumptions are embedded in children’s literature
  • Build space to include children’s discussion of culture in literacy instruction

The online instruction, discussions, and job-embedded practice should take five to seven hours over the duration of the program. Participants who complete all individual assessments and contribute to group discussions will receive a certificate indicating completion of five clock hours of instruction.

Meet The Faculty

Pamela Mason

Pamela Mason

Senior Lecturer on Education; Faculty Director, Language and Literacy

Pamela Mason's professional and research interests encompass the interaction of text complexity and background knowledge, the interaction of literacy learning, culture, and multilingualism, and school-wide literacy program implementation and evaluation, using qualitative and quantitative measures. She has extensive experience as a reading/language arts curriculum coordinator for several local school districts and as an elementary school principal. She is currently a member of the Juvenile Justice Education Research Initiative, investigating the education provided to incarcerated youth. Mason is active in the International Literacy Association (formerly the International Reading Association), serving on the Literacy Reform Task Force and the Program Committee. She also co-edited Promising Practices for Urban Reading Instruction, an IRA publication. She is a past president of the Massachusetts Association of College and University Reading Educators and the Massachusetts Reading Association and served as the co-chair of the Studies and Research Committee. Mason is also an active member of the Literacy Research Association, serving on the Early Career Award and the Student Outstanding Research Award committees. She collaborates with colleagues nationally and internationally on preparing reading specialist teachers, implementing literacy coaching, developing school leaders, and evaluating school-wide literacy programs.

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