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Literacy with an Attitude: Educating Working-Class Children in Their Own Self-Interest
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Literacy with an Attitude: Educating Working-Class Children in Their Own Self-Interest

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  183 ratings  ·  25 reviews

A comprehensive update of the classic study that delivers both a passionate plea and strategies for teachers, parents, and community organizers to give working-class children the same type of empowering education and powerful literacy skills that the children of upper- and middle-class people receive.

Hardcover, Second Edition, 311 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by State University of New York Press (first published August 26th 1999)
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Educators, just read it--and grasp the author's understanding of what it takes for students caught in poverty to become real learners. I'm sure you'll find things you disagree with, but consider how the author's experiences may have differed from yours and why you've drawn different conclusions. And, read all the way to the end of the second edition where he chronicles what happened when he put his ideas into action.
Robert Bussell
Finns offers and social and idealogical commentary that can inform teaching practice. You will learn little about the practical business of teaching by reading this book, but this book will help you understand the problems of public education in a way that will orient you towards possible solution, at least within your own classroom. At the same time, you may just rediscover the reason your standing in front of that class in the first place.

"Literacy With an Attitude" belongs on every leftist ed
Apr 19, 2014 Jordan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jordan by: Teachacari
What prejudices, preconceptions, policies, and other forces are keeping the rich rich, and the poor even poorer? According to Patrick J. Finn, it all comes down to traditional American education.

In this fascinating and subversive little book, Finn outlines the mechanisms and mechanizations that suppress and undermine the voices of working-class children and communities, and at the same time support, validate, and empower the children of affluent communities.

It makes so much sense.

To ground hi
This helped me understand how important student choice and voice are. The book will help teachers and parents understand how activities such as debate and socratic seminars are useful and empowering. We can teach our children to use their voices in a productive, meaningful way.
I had high hopes for this book and for the most part, my expectations were met. I wanted to recharge my batteries and get ideas for charging up the students I serve in my school.

Reading the reviews here make me wish I'd gotten the second edition since it seems that edition has additional chapters that give some practical suggestions for putting some of the ideas into practice.

I had some issues with the tone of the work - the writer's voice was often overly casual or self-consciously "cool" and s
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aaron Clark
A pivotal book in my understanding of what it means to be in the position of "educator". Moreover, one of the essential pieces in helping me to understand my worldview openly and honestly. In part, my this book helped me to discover my true "voice" as a teacher, and most importantly, how to allow other voices to have power.
Lisa P
Fascinating study for teachers about the need to encourage our children to be active learners, thinkers instead of passive, obedient learners. Several different case studies of progressive and traditional schools are included, and these are rather enlightening. I was surprised, too, to read about how the way we speak to children when they are very young can shape their attitude toward learning.

After reading it, I had some very interesting conversations with my students about authority and power
Great book on literacy.
For those that have only ready the first edition. I highly recommend reading the 8 chapters Finn added to the second edition. While I read the first part of the book frustrated by the "savage inequalities," I also felt helpless in the face of such challenges. The end of the book however, Finn chronicles many grassroots efforts to take on the inequity and challenge the status quo. Now I have an idea for a dissertation.
Yes, terrible cover and title -- but it did make me think about teaching and literacy education in ways I hadn't before. I wish there was more discussion of classroom strategies that teachers can use to teach literacy "with an attitude," but there are tons of suggestions for further reading, both in the book and in online reviews. Very interesting book.
Nov 11, 2013 Pauline rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: TEACHERS
Shelves: teaching
I thought this was an extensive revision to an already amazing text!
So thought-provoking about how schools are run, how teachers teach, and how we can infuse our classrooms with a theme of social justice. LOVE this book - every teacher should read this at least will transform the way you look at your classroom & the world.
Mark Feltskog
This is a workmanlike summary of the way that social class is reproduced by way of public schooling, and is fine as it goes. Mr. Finn cites Paulo Freire at length, and I think it might be difficult to make sense of this book without having read Freire.
Dan Murphy
The cover and title are off-putting, but of all the books I had to read while I was teaching in the Bronx, this was one of the select few that actually could have been useful. Too bad then that I was a math teacher.
If you can get passed the toolish-looking child on the cover, Finn reports on studies & Freirean pedagogy ina useful way. Not much in the way of putting his insights into practice, however.
Very interesting book. Made a difference in how I consider language, especially language of the home. There is not a "natural" way to come into contact with literacy.
Edward Kidder
Jan 26, 2008 Edward Kidder rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ed school geeks
A highlight of the fall required reading in my grad program. Into socio-economically determinism in schools? Wonder about "oppositional identity?" Then check it out.
It was eye-opening in the way that I teach and how students are taught in general. Some of it may be a little out there, but I enjoyed how it challenged me.
Heather Edick
So far this book provides a great background for teachers who are working with working class students. I am enjoying this book very much.
Mary Ellen
Yup, Finn's right, working class and working poor children resist instruction in a way that upper and middle class students do not.
I'm not sure why this one wasn't already on my's a great book that I use for my Adolescent Literacy course.
How culture, race, and class impact the education of our future may tick you off.
Everyone MUST read this book. No. Really. It's important.
Jan 10, 2011 Holly is currently reading it
Reading this for my grad lit course. Very interesting...
I am actually cited in this book. Woo hoo!
Jim is currently reading it
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Mary Ellen
Mary Ellen marked it as to-read
Aug 18, 2015
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