Self-generated Literacy Practices in Disadvantaged Environments in Chile

Margarita Calderón López


This study explores the role of literacy in disadvantaged environments and the interplay between self-generated literacy practices and their conceptualization of literacy in 7 to 10-year-old Chilean pupils from two different schools located in Santiago, Chile. The study was framed within a participatory approach focused on promoting the children’s agency and voice in the research. A range of second-level data materials were collected through interviews with parents, photographs and existing documents. Although at a resources-associated level the sociocultural context did not inhibit the emergence of literacy practices, the context did contribute to the children’s understanding of literacy. This study raises the need for considering how children’s understanding of literacy influence their involvement and learning about reading and writing as their experiences and perceptions have an important role in their learning process, particularly on how they develop their reading and writing practices. The findings implied that by raising the participants’ awareness of the relevance of everyday practices in relation with reading and writing, they are likelier to feel more comfortable and empowered towards their own literacy practices. Particularly, the empowerment of children coming from a disadvantaged background would give them more opportunities to support their learning. By making the children aware of the relevance of their own perceptions and practices, the pupils could gain in confidence, be agents of their learning processes, and have more resources to succeed on the demanding school environment.


home practices, children’s writing, disadvantaged communities, participatory research, Chile

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