Robert Calfee defines critical literacy as "'the capacity to use language as a tool for thinking and communication (Calfee, 1994, p. 23)'" (vi-vii). The co-editors quote Calfee further:
Critical literacy includes the capacity for action, but also incorporates a broad sense of understanding and insight, and the ability to communicate with others about "texts" whether these are written or spoken. It is the difference between understanding how to operate the lever voting vs. comprehending the issues needed to decide for whom to vote and why. (Calfee, 1994, p. 27)
Sudol and Horning explain this definition of literacy in terms of a "political dimension." They say, "this level of literacy provides political empowerment" (vii). Yet the editors never explore what they mean by political empowerment.