Examining Emergent Writing Development: Reframing Deficit Notions of Preschool Latin Children Writing with Their Mothers




Cataldo, Raquel

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This dissertation examined Latin preschool children writing with their mothers during joint writing times at home. The understanding that foundational literacy development begins at home and that all children come to school knowing about language and literacy is supported by the literature. The literature further supports the vital role of emergent writing and its connection to reading for children becoming successful writers and readers. In la familia, Latin mothers hold a significant role in that development. However, often educators hold deficit notions of Latino children's language and literacy development. Vygotsky's (1978) socio-cultural theory and Bronfenbrenner's (1977) ecological systems theory served as the theoretical framework for this qualitative case study examining four Latin mother-child dyads using their funds of knowledge (Moll, et. al, 1992) to write about family experiences using photographs. The research findings indicate that joint writing events using family photos lead to meaningful writing contexts for young Latin children that augmented their writing skills. The joint writing events provided positive literacy interactions for both mother and child. For the mother, it created a strong sense of agency in her ability to support her child's foundational literacy development while simultaneously helping the child develop his/her identity as a writer. This work signals the importance of the Latin mother's role in her child's literacy development before schooling, dispels the notion that preschool children cannot write, and supports the research that emergent writing is critical to foundational literacy development and contributes to emergent reading.


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Early Childhood Education, Emergent Writing, Funds of Knowledge, Latino, Literacy, Mothers



Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching