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Literacy and Identity: A View from the Bridge in two Multicultural London Schools

Wallace, Catherine (2008) Literacy and Identity: A View from the Bridge in two Multicultural London Schools. Journal of Language, Identity and Education, 7 (1). pp. 61-80. ISSN 1534-8458

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Abstract

In this paper I examine the manner in which identity impacts on literacy practices, with reference to two nine-year old girls and two fifteen year-old boys, who speak or have access to two or more languages. The younger children were part of a year- long study of the British National Literacy Strategy (cf. Wallace 2005). The older two were interviewed in the context of a study of children’s responses to the cultural content of school texts. My aim is to establish how the children’s talk about and around literacy reveals what are salient identities for these young people. I identify four interwoven strands which emerge from the children’s talk, characterised as ‘I come from here’ identity, ‘Back Home identity, Language Identity and Religious identity. I argue that these interwoven identities represent for the children a potentially rich resource to engage critically with school texts. This is evident in moments of discourse in which particular identities are invoked to build bridges between the children’s diverse personal histories and the texts and practices validated by school. I conclude by drawing some implications for schooling and for the children’s futures.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The article offers an original conceptualisation of reader identities which emerge in the talk around text of four L2 children in London schools. It shows how particular identity allegiances come into play as the children interpret and process school texts. Its significance lies in the fact that the detail of the vignettes provided are able to suggest ways in wich teachers can tap into the unique cultural resources of potentially marginalised learners This is an electronic version of an article published in Wallace, Catherine (2008) Literacy and Identity: A View from the Bridge in two Multicultural London Schools. Language, Identity and Education, 7 (1). pp. 61-80. Language, Identity and Education is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/15348450701804722
Controlled Keywords: bridging discourse, identity, literacy, text, multilingualism, , London
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Culture, Communication and Media
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (2)
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2010 11:00
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2013 12:12
URI: http://eprints.ioe.ac.uk/id/eprint/1599
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