Bullying has been recognized as a complex phenomenon with potential for serious negative outcomes. Activities that address complex social situations of bullying, such as reading and writing to a pen pal about fictional literature, provide space for students to think and share about personal issues that they encounter and how characters deal with similar issues in productive ways. For this research, we used a critical literacy lens to explore bullying within the context of language, power and context. This research shares qualitative analysis of letters students wrote to adult pen pals after reading a fictional book with a plot addressing bullying. Letters from 32 students were analyzed and four themes emerged: 1) text-based interpretations about bullying; 2) personal experiences and perspectives about bullying; 3) bullying in relation to friendship and social positioning; and 4) lessons learned for addressing bullying via action and advocacy.
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Hughes, E. M., & Quiñones, S. (2018). “Is Sarah a Bully or a Friend?”: Examining Students’ Text-based Written Expressions of Bullying. Middle Grades Review, 4(2). https://scholarworks.uvm.edu/mgreview/vol4/iss2/6