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In the western region of the kingdom, the theory of cultural literacy, Me-We-Us, lived within the classrooms. Me-We-Us proclaimed that reading, writing, speaking, and listening within a culture of people was the best way of learning. Many chapter books and units were purchased and built around various cultures around the world and country, and it was first seen to be quite successful because there was such a diverse curriculum being constructed. Walking a mile or two in others’ shoes was believed by adults to be the best road to empathy and good citizenship. Me-We-Us lived on as a successful theory for quite some time, especially because it really lent itself to multi-subject area collaboration. But soon, it was observed that the slide of Me to We to Us was not really working. Students were not developmentally ready to realize worlds beyond “Me.” There was no connection to past experience, no connection to real life. The students saw that things happened to characters in books but weren’t ready to connect those plots to their own lives. They were good stories, but things like that would never happen to them. Me-We-Us stood strong, however. “Within my theory, students and teachers have the opportunity to read about, write about, speak about, and listen to others from around the world, from around the country who may be living through the same problems they are, or who may have totally different traditions or problems that our students deserve to know about. Literacy is not just about those in our kingdom, and everyone is different; we should appreciate those differences.” The eighth graders at Castleton Village thanked Me-We-Us for its theory. They agreed that learning about others and going beyond themselves and their lives would be a great idea, but they, as middle schoolers, may not be ready for that yet. They also decided that there was a lot more to the word “culture” than geography. “Finding out about ourselves first is more important to us. We can’t read or write about something we haven’t experienced. The word culture to us also means age culture, class culture, school culture, and we think those are more important to our daily lives. Adults need to know we have our own language, kids in the city have their own language, and we know adults have their own way of communicating. It’s important for us all to realize that and appreciate those differences, too.”


“Finding out about ourselves first is more important to us. We can’t read or write about something we haven’t experienced. The word culture...