“[Some] teachers tell us to stop being creative and to start being serious about work,” begins Harvard Professor Doris Sommer. “But we say that if you can be creative with work, you are being critical too.”
This philosophy is the foundation of Sommer’s innovative “Pre-Texts” literacy program that helps children bridge the gap between creative and analytical thinking. She and her team have brought this method of instruction all over the world to help educators encourage their students to take a deeper dive into literature to become both critical readers and creative thinkers.
On May 21, Public School Partnerships and Sommer’s team brought Pre-Texts to the Harvard Ed Portal for the first time and showed families how to use literature as a tool for expression. Participants of all ages learned how to actively engage with a text as they explored the classic story “The Little Prince” through art, songs, and cookie decorating. Bringing the story to life required thoughtful consideration and the adults and children learned to ask questions and personally interpret the text through their own creative expression.
“It’s a great way to get students talking about complex texts in a very fun way,” said Karen Wonton, who works with Boston Public Schools’ Parent University.
Conducted in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin, the Pre-Texts program pushed past the language barrier and allowed each participant to share their own unique interpretation of the story with others.