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Title:Immigrant LatinosÕ cultural model of literacy development: An evolving perspective on home-school discontinuities
Author:Reese, L., & Gallimore, R.
Resource Type:Journal Article
American Journal of Education, 108(2)

pp. 103-134
ERIC #:EJ624173 (click to view this publication's record on the ERIC Web site)
Education Level:Early Childhood/Pre-K, Elementary
Literature type:Research and Evaluation

This article examines immigrant Mexican and Central American parentsÕ cultural models and practices of early literacy. By cultural models researchers mean Òthe widely shared, implicit notions and assumptions that define the way things are and should be among members of a shared cultural group.Ó The study found that the parents in the sample did share a common view of literacy development that affected their structuring of everyday literacy activities with their children. Although their literacy practices had origins in their native countries, they varied according to how parentsÕ individual experiences had shaped their own cultural model. The data indicated that a shift in many familiesÕ reading practices started before immigration, but was accelerated by contact with U.S. schools. Researchers also found that younger generations were beginning to use changed, but still familiar, literacy practices with their own children. There was no evidence that parents regarded these changes as an abandonment of traditional values. Based on these findings, the researchers infer that not all children from a particular cultural group experience the same type or intensity of home-school discontinuity, and that home-school interactions are not necessarily static. The sample of 39 parents of Kindergarten students was randomly selected from a 12-year longitudinal study conducted in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Ethnographic research methods were employed to document the literacy practices of 10 families during home visits over the course of one year. The other 29 families participated in open-ended case study interviews several times over four years. The data were reviewed and coded to identify common themes, such as parental theories of learning and reading, descriptions of learning and reading strategies, home-country reading experiences, and reading practices and events. This article provides rich descriptions of the data, including further details about LatinosÕ cultural models and beliefs that may be of interest to practitioners working with this population. The authors also offer suggestions to school practitioners for appropriate ways to address home-school interactions with immigrant Latino families.

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