Date of Award

Winter 1992

Project Type


Program or Major

Reading and Writing Instruction

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Donald Graves


Through ethnographic case studies of three fourth-grade children, this study investigates the relationships between children's home and school literacies. The data were collected through participant-observation in the children's homes and at school; interviews of children, parents, and teacher; and analysis of children's products and processes (such as written work and hand-made crafts).

The study defines a literacy as a meaning-making system which can be used functionally, communicatively, reflectively, flexibly, and pleasurably. Schools typically focus on print literacy and do not always recognize or value the range of literacies children bring with them from home. This research shows children using not only print literacy, but interactive and mechanical literacies, among others. It suggests that children acquire literacies informally, in context, and through interaction. The findings suggest that schools broaden their concept of a "literate environment" to include more than print and to promote interactive ways of working--to become "learning homes" where children's home literacies are used in meaningful ways--both for their own value and as bridges to other literacies.