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Title:Culturally relevant literacy practices: a case of a Brazilian emergent bilingual
Author(s):Felicio, Vivian Carla Andrade
Director of Research:Dyson, Anne H.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Dyson, Anne H.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Harris, Violet J.; DeNicolo, Christina P.; Ndimande, Bekisizwe S.
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Curriculum and Instruction
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literacy practices
Culturally relevant literacy
bilingual education
Case study
Abstract:This study examines the case of Anita, a Brazilian emergent bilingual, studying and living in the United States. It highlights the critical issue of culturally relevant literacy learning in and out-of-school, focusing in Anita’s, her parent’s and teachers’ perspectives on literacy and culturally relevant literacy practices, asking: What are the practices and resources considered culturally relevant for supporting second language literacy learning of the Brazilian emergent bilingual participating in this study? This study investigates the different perspectives on literacy and literacy practices for different participants. It examines how participants’ notions of culturally relevant literacy practices shape their practices and affect the participating child experiences with literacy in different contexts (e.g., classroom to classroom and home vs. school). I framed this study based on sociocultural views of learning and teaching (Freire, 1972; Street, 2000; Vygotsky, 1978). The analysis of the data shows that participants conceptualized literacy, and culturally relevant literacy practices, from mainly two perspectives: “Inside-out,” that is, from children’s social worlds and needs; and “Outside-In,” emerging from “outside ” features from the institution and its demands. Based on these perspectives parents and teachers facilitate literacy practices and determine which literacy practices are relevant. Discrepancies between these practices produced certain tensions for the child and for the family. In this case, I suggest ways in which researchers, administrators, policymakers, and teachers might begin to think of “culturally relevant” literacy practices. I highlight the importance of understanding the children’s social worlds and their “funds of knowledge” (González, Moll, & Amanti, 2005; Moll, Amanti, Neff, & González, 1992). I discuss the necessity of being aware of individuals’ conceptualization of literacy and, thus, relevance because the concepts individuals hold about literacy and relevance undergird the ways they experience and facilitate literacy, and most importantly, the ways they socialize children into practices they judge relevant. I argue that the “Inside-out” concept of literacy can be a starting point for critical understating of culturally relevant literacy practices for children from different cultural backgrounds. The “Inside-out” way of conceptualizing culturally relevant literacy could be a common ground between what schools see as relevant to teach and what and how parents see as relevant for their children to learn.
Issue Date:2015-04-17
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Vivian Carla Felicio
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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