Restorative Literacies: Creating a Community of Care in Schools

Through eight compelling stories of restorative literacies, Wolter explores the complex relationships among cognition, metacognition, identity, behavior in schools, and literacies. Based on the principles of restorative justice, restorative literacies are designed to help educators repair harm, restore relationships, and expand the concept of literacy for some of our most disenfranchised and disengaged students. Restorative literacies are not just about growing readers and writers per se. They are about creating a community of care that involves students, teachers, administrators, and families so that all students experience racially, culturally, linguistically, and economically responsive instruction in multiple forms of literacies. Drawing on the author’s rich experiences cultivating a love of reading among her students and studying the practices of other educators, Restorative Literacies advances a provocative set of examples about centering the voice and stories of people in our quest to humanize and reimagine how we care for, about, and with others.

Book Features:

  • Presents a literacy model of restorative justice that includes participation from teachers, principals, administrators, and parents.
  • Contains engaging narratives from elementary and secondary schools to illustrate concepts and strategies.
  • Explores compassionate listening as a conscious process of assuring that all involved are fully heard, a skill that requires removing assumptions, judgement, and bias.
  • Identifies practices that take a positive view of learners, as opposed to referring students to special education.
  • Uses restoration as an alternative to pushout practices that are designed to control students and often prevent them from reaching their capacity.

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“Those who take the time to explore this text will find themselves the beneficiary of the wealth that “plurality of literacy” can yield. Those who take the time to apply Wolter’s work will find themselves shedding ethnocentrism and opening a treasure trove of identities, communities, abilities, and literacies that students already own.” ― Book Review by Kristen Pennycuff Trent, Professor of Literacy Education at Tennessee Technological University.

Restorative Literacies offers a refreshing perspective on the power of story in cultivating emancipatory, restorative, and transformative contexts of learning, teaching, and development….During these times of civil and civic unrest, this is the book we need in education.”
―From the Foreword by H. Richard Milner IV, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair of Education, Vanderbilt University

“Wolter offers educators a definitive deep dive into transforming a classroom into a vital and inclusive space. Through storytelling and empowering the voices of students, Restorative Literacies takes restorative practices beyond ‘managing’ behavior and towards creating classrooms that honor human dignity and the uniqueness of every young person’s experience.”
John Bailie, president, International Institute for Restorative Practices