South African Journal of Education
On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
KAJEE, Leila. Literacy journeys: home and family literacy practices in immigrant households and their congruence with schooled literacy. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2011, vol.31, n.3, pp. 434-446. ISSN 2076-3433.
Major sociocultural contexts of learning such as families, communities and schools are imbued with power, and power favours some more than others. Given that schools are important sites of social and cultural reproduction, one of their major tasks is to teach learners to be literate. However, literacy is often viewed only as schooled literacy in the dominant language, and the role of the home has been undervalued in the past. In this paper I examine, through a sociocultural lens, the role played by the home and community in literacy learning. Through data elicited from observations of family interactions and conversations, as well as interviews with family members in two immigrant households, I examine their home and community literacy practices and ask how these practices intersect with schooled literacy. I conclude that immigrant children have far greater language and literacy skills than presumed, and that schools need to recognize language and literacy practices that children engage in at home and in the community, and emphasize that social justice for all requires educational shifts.
Keywords : family literacy practices; immigrant families; language; schooled literacy; social justice.