Connecting Home and School Literacy Practices in Classrooms with Diverse Populations

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I present the cases of 5 students from diverse backgrounds and conclude that home and school are more connected for some students than for others. Home and school were tightly connected for middle-class European-American students who read at home and school, shared their writing with the class, and brought items from home to show peers. In contrast, students from non-mainstream backgrounds participated in home literacy activities that did not match school experiences. These students were more reticent in the classroom, did not share items from home, and experienced home and school as separate. In the analysis, books, tasks, and participation structures contributed to some students making stronger connections than others. Teachers having more information about some students than others; their own middle-class European-American backgrounds and the need to treat all students “equally”; and their assumptions that students could make the connections between home and school on their own contributed to the curriculum being more congruent with middle-class, home literacy experiences than working-class experiences. Although I suggest that learning about students’ cultures and backgrounds is essential, I delineate some of the challenges that accompany learning about students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-182
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Literacy Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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