Mirrors, Windows & Sliding Glass Doors: Access Points to Literacy in STEM Classrooms

In 1990 Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop offered the field of literacy education a metaphor describing the power of multicultural texts in classrooms. Books can act as self-affirming mirrors, where readers can see themselves in the characters or setting. They also serve as windows to familiar or strange new worlds. And if texts are transformative, they invite readers to pull open the sliding glass door and walk into the narrative to take part. A while ago, I wondered why this empowerment was missing from secondary science classrooms, particularly the higher up you go. This post discusses three access points to STEM literacy: tangible, cognitive and cultural. Without this access, instructional strategies are beside the point. This is the first post about the inner workings of our literacy system, the fourth discussed so far in this blog.