Making us proud: young children engaging with schooled literacy discourses

Henning, Lucy (2019). Making us proud: young children engaging with schooled literacy discourses. Cambridge Journal of Education, 49(5) pp. 637–653.



This article takes a Literacy as a Social Practice approach to explore the ways in which a class of five- to six-year-old children in a London primary school accounted for the operation of schooled discourses of literacy. It presents data from an ethnographic study which suggests that the children made demonstrations of practices expected by schooling to teaching adults in the classroom, but placed less emphasis on demonstrating other practices that, whilst helpful, did not align with schooled expectations for how children should practise literacy. This suggests that the children worked within the constraints of schooled literacy, whilst maintaining their own beliefs about how best to engage with schooled literacy tasks. An implication here is that the emphasis of schooling on ensuring children meet adult expectations may restrict educators’ view of the complexity of young children’s in-school literacy practices.

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