What you'll learn

  • 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

Course description

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.


  • Senior Lecturer on Education; Faculty Director, Language and Literacy

Associated Schools

  • Harvard Graduate School of Education

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