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Styslinger, Mary E., Karen Gavigan, and Kendra Albright, Eds. Literacy behind Bars: Successful Reading and Writing Strategies for Use with Incarcerated Youth and Adults.

Styslinger, Mary E., Karen Gavigan, and Kendra Albright, Eds. Literacy behind Bars: Successful Reading and Writing Strategies for Use with Incarcerated Youth and Adults. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017. 108p. $45.Oversize pb. 978-1-4422-6925-5. Table of Contents. Index. References.

Written by professionals with experience working with incarcerated people, this resource is for educators and librarians who engage youth and adults "behind the fence" in the English language arts. "Part 1: Supporting Writers" uses poetry, writing workshops, public service announcements, and graphic novels. "Part 2: Encouraging Readers" includes street literature, library adaptions, graphic novels, and book clubs. These multidimensional lessons infuse literacy skills with assignments and resources that reflect their lives; they address their emotional needs and social skills such as fostering empathy, forming community, promoting social justice, and providing agency. "Part 3: Inspiring Partnerships" explores the benefits of uniting the incarcerated, teachers, and universities. It focuses on pedagogy, integrating novice teachers, and designing professional development.

The foreword and preface present a well-documented overview that connects poor literacy skills to incarceration. The editors introduce their text with a strong rationale that explains the literary deficits and unique needs of the incarcerated. Chapters generally progress from goal, rationale, resources, implementation, challenges, student products, and lessons learned to references, and are peppered with stories from the teachers. They include a variety of instructional approaches (Bloom's taxonomy, mentor texts, gradual release model), learning standards and position statements (American Association of School Libraries, National Council of Teachers of English, International Reading Association), and theory (social justice theory, critical race theory), which contribute to the validity of the contributors' approaches. Well-written, insightful, timely, applicable across place and audience, this book is a fantastic resource for librarians and teachers working with incarcerated populations. These lessons are easily adaptable to an urban, general education setting and may improve the literacy skills of those at risk. --Stefanie N. Hughes.

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Author:Hughes, Stefanie N.
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Apr 1, 2017
Words:308
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