Adolescent literacy identity: An exploration of self-identified literacy events




Holmes, Courtney C.

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The purpose of this qualitative research study was to examine how various literacy events, photographed by adolescent students contributed to the construction of their literacy identities. I used a multiple case study approach (Merriam, 2001), and analyzed data through constant comarative analysis (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) and content analysis (Krippendorff, 2004). Participant selection of two Latino high school freshmen was purposeful. Data collection included interviews with students, photographs taken by the students, and response activities created by the students. The theoretical framework for literacy as a social practice (Barton, 2007; Barton & Hamilton, 1998; Street, 1994, 1995) and the interpretive framework of identities in practice (Holland, Skinner, Lachicotte, & Cain, 1998) made up the conceptual framework with which I viewed my data.

Findings from the individual profiles suggest that these students engaged in multiple forms of literacy and identity negotiation in varied ways, with different social groups, all the time and sometimes simultaneously. Themes from cross case analysis suggest that students leaned toward convenient modes for finding or sharing literacy, had structured definition for why and how people engage in reading and writing, and their positive social experiences allowed them to continually participate in certain and specific acts of literacy contributing to their literacy identities. Implications from findings opens a window for future research that would examine how students who do not have positive social experiences with literacy navigate academic discourses and develop their literacy identities.


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adolescent, identity, literacy



Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching