"La fotonovela digital": a sociocultural tool for biliteracy, digital literacy, and visual literacy learning of Latina/o bilingual children at an afterschool club




García, Adriana S.

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This study sought to understand the literacy and language learning processes that take place during the creation of fotonovelas. The theoretical lens used in this study includes sociocultural understandings of literacy learning, biliteracy, digital literacy, and visual literacy, as the goal was to observe how Latina/o bilingual children engage in creating digital fotonovelas in an afterschool technology club in order to explore the development of their multiple literacies and identities (The New London Group, 1996; Gee, 2007, 2011; Larson & Marsh, 2005). The study participants were Latina/o children attending "La Clase Mágica @ UTSA" (LCM@UTSA) afterschool technology club located in the southwestern United States. Each child that took part in the study, with the assistance of a bilingual university mentor, created a digital fotonovela using an iPad and the app called, "Comic Life." The analysis of the data collected in this study revealed seven prominent themes that contributed to answering the research questions: (1) LCM@UTSA provides a Third Space setting where children's biliteracy, digital literacy, and visual literacy are fostered and developed; (2) LCM@UTSA forms numerous practices, as they ensure that the participating children are becoming not only biliterate, but also digitally and visually literate; (3) Biliteracy is fostered at LCM@UTSA by validating the participants' translanguaging in their digital correspondence and digital fotonovelas ; (4) Digital literacy and visual literacy are fostered at LCM@UTSA by the digital and visual literacy level practices that were formed while creating a digital fotonovela; (5) As a cultural tool, the fotonovela has evolved to reflect the changes in the modern literacy practices and has become digital; (6) Digital fotonovelas served as a linguistic resource for employing humor and developing stronger cultural awareness; (7) Digital fotonovelas provide a glimpse into children's identity formation. The seven themes that emerged are based on prior research findings and the results of this study, which reaffirm that afterschool programs like LCM@UTSA are instrumental in developing and nourishing bilingual/biliterate Latin@ children.


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afterschool technology club, biliteracy, digital literacy, fotonovelas, Latina/o children, visual literacy



Bicultural-Bilingual Studies