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Emulating what’s valued: Family practices in literacy learning
Guided participation
Issue Date: 
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Educational Research Association of Singapore, Singapore, 2006.
Children learn about literacy through their interactions with more experienced members of the culture (teachers, parents, siblings, peers, extended family members, etc.) in a process of guided participation (Rogoff, 1990). This means that their learning of literacy occurs in participation with and is mediated by others in culturally valued activities. Differences in what the members count as literacy and which literacy they consider worth transmitting to children affects the latter’s literacy learning and their disposition to texts.
This paper presents data from two families with different approaches to literacy learning. In one family, the child is exposed to meaning-based activities in literacy instruction where the parents and other adult members engage in extended discourse around texts and encourage intertextual references. In another family, the child learns that literacy means learning the grammar of reading and writing (decoding, punctuation and intonation), a practice that appears to cohere with the family’s devotion to learning to recite religious texts and perform religious rituals where meaning and comprehension are often relegated to a secondary activity.
The two children will enter school with fairly different cultural resources towards literacy learning, and their educational attainment will depend on how teachers make efficient use of these resources and design pedagogies that meet the needs of different children.
Project number: 
CRP 19/04 MAB
Appears in Collections:CRPP - Conference Papers

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