Teaching critical literacy skills through fantasy literature : case studies from three Connecticut high schools

Fabrizi, Mark Anthony

September 2012

Thesis or dissertation

© 2012 Mark Anthony Fabrizi. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

The purpose of this thesis was to explore the teaching of critical literacy through fantasy literature. This research explores the possibility of a union between a pedagogy of empowerment and a literature of the fantastic, a union which will help improve our lives and democratize our world while validating a literature, often seen as primarily escapist, as worthy of literary study in secondary schools. The research is significant due to the paucity of scholarly research into the teaching of critical literacy through teachers’ use of fantasy literature. The research methodology involved a qualitative analysis of three case studies, each of which entailed 1) teacher interviews, 2) classroom observations, 3) student interviews, and 4) analysis of written work produced by students. Student work was assessed against a rubric that examined the degree to which critical literacy skills were manifest. Each case was bounded by the teaching of fantasy texts which the students discussed and analyzed. Although some students are not predisposed toward fantasy literature and can be distanced by some of the elements inherent in such texts, the research findings suggest that dismissing the genre of fantasy literature as escapist and superficial ignores the potential for motivating students and discounts the richness and depth of many fantasy texts. Fantasy literature can be a rich, complex source for analysis and is an appropriate vehicle to teach critical literacy skills.

Centre for Educational Studies, The University of Hull
Qualification level
Qualification name
Filesize: 3 MB
QR Code