Developing critical literacy skills through using the environment as text


  • Joan M Chambers Lakehead University
  • Christy L Radbourne Lakehead District School Board



critical literacy skills, environment as text, Aboriginal and marginalized learners


Through a provincially funded project, teachers in a Grade 2 and a Grade 6 class were able to develop best practices as they incorporated the environment as the teaching text for developing critical literacy skills with their students. The findings showed significant improvement in literacy abilities and foundational skills, particularly for Aboriginal students and marginalized learners. Additionally, the children in the study developed an attitude of respect and caring for their place, the environment, and for one another. Framed by ecosocial theory, this research demonstrated the children’s abilities to utilize critical literacy skills to “read their world” and take action.

Author Biographies

Joan M Chambers, Lakehead University

Joan M. Chambers, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead Univeristy in Thunder Bay, ON, Canada. Her research interests include language and discourse, environmental and ecojustice education, ecosocial theory, and science teaching and learning for young children.

Contact information:

Christy L Radbourne, Lakehead District School Board

Christy L. Radbourne, M.Ed. is a Vice Principal, Lakehead District School Board in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. She has been an administrator and elementary teacher with the Lakehead District School Board for 12 years.  She is currently enrolled in the Joint PhD program at Lakehead University, Brock University and the University of Windsor.  Her Masters work focused on culturally relevant teaching practices and pedagogy for Aboriginal Students and her research interests include environmental education, educational leadership, Aboriginal education and socio-ecological justice.




How to Cite

Chambers, J. M., & Radbourne, C. L. (2015). Developing critical literacy skills through using the environment as text. Language and Literacy, 17(1), 1–20.