LITERACY AFTER THE EARLY YEARS:
A LONGITUDINAL STUDY
Barbara Comber, Lynne Badger, Jenny Barnett and Helen Nixon
University of South Australia
Department of Education Training and Employment, South Australia
As an educational community we know relatively little about the everyday
school lives of primary school-aged children attending schools in low
socioeconomic communities, about the literacies they are taught, those
they engage with, and those they take up and use as their own. This article
reports on a school-based research study that aimed to contribute new
knowledge in this area.
Literacy after the early years: a longitudinal study
Internationally, children living in low socio-economic circumstances
are statistically more likely to perform at a lower level on standardised
measures of literacy than more affluent children. However, some children
‘beat the odds’ and do better than expected. As an educational
community we know relatively little about the everyday school lives
of primary school-aged
children attending schools in low socio-economic communities; about the
literacies they are taught; those they engage with, and those they take
up and use as their own. We know next to nothing about children’s
school trajectories from ages 8-12; yet we do know that this is a crucial
where children are establishing their personal, social and academic identities,
where they are thinking about who they are and who they can be. This
summarises a research study that aimed to contribute new knowledge in
this area. (1)
The study, we believe, has relevance for primary school teachers in a
variety of contexts. In all schools there are children whose families
experience socio-economic disadvantage. In all schools there are students
with a great range of literate repertoires and capabilities and children
with diverse linguistic and cultural heritages. Everywhere there are children
growing up into a differently literate world than that which we inhabited
as children and as adults; where different proficiencies count (searching
the Internet or making a web page); and where the possibilities for representing
meanings are vast and ever-expanding. We hope, too, that teachers of students
of all ages may find it rewarding to reflect on what constitutes literacy
in their classrooms and what kinds of instruction are working for their
Purposes of the project
While there has been considerable attention lately to outcome levels
and benchmarks, there is a dearth of recent studies that closely consider
the ‘what’ of literacy. In this study, our overriding purpose was to consider
the actual nature of the literate repertoires children assemble in the
middle years at primary school situated in poor communities. Specific
aims were to:
- find out which literate practices children in these socio-economically
disadvantaged school were given access to and practice in
- analyse what individual children took from the classroom literacy
- Document and analyse assessment information from sources available
in the system, including teachers, students, national and state literacy
- better theorise the relationship between the development of student
literacies, the provision of literacy curriculum, and the assessment
of literacy outcomes.
The project is important for two main reasons. Firstly, little ethnographic
longitudinal research has been done in Australia to look closely at the
school lives and literacy achievement of children growing up in schools
serving low socio-economic communities (see Freebody et al. 1995). Secondly,
relatively few studies have considered either literacy curricula or literacy
development in the middle years of primary school (Allington & Johnston
2000, Gee 2000, Snow et al. 1991, Snow et al. 1998). Yet a number of educators
have suggested that the gap between the literacy performance of students
living in low socio-economic circumstances increases, rather than decreases
as we might expect, after the early years of schooling (see for example
Badger et al. 1993, Hill et al 1998). Further, some educators now speak
of a ‘fourth-grade slump’ (Gee 2000, Education Queensland 2000, Snow et
al. 1998), which suggests that there may be unexplained changes in school
literacy tasks which impact differentially on children’s development at
Given these gaps in the professional literature, we aimed to produce:
- a series of longitudinal case studies of literacy development among
primary-aged students in three socio-economically disadvantaged school
- an analysis of students’ literacy development, teachers’ literacy
pedagogies, and the local application of curriculum reforms in socio-economically
- professional resources designed to extend teachers’ knowledge about
children’s literacy development and to improve teaching practice.
It was our intention to look at what was going on from an anthropological
perspective. That is, we wanted to see what counted as literacy for specific
children and their teachers, in particular classrooms, in particular schools,
at this particular time. By using a longitudinal design and focussing
on middle primary schooling, we sought to make an original contribution
to the field of literacy studies in Australia, and beyond. The project
was designed to produce detailed longitudinal case studies of the literacy
experiences of individual students in three schools receiving funds under
the Disadvantaged Schools Component of the Commonwealth Literacy Program
(formerly the Commonwealth Disadvantaged Schools Program). Such schools
all serve communities that are disadvantaged by low socio-economic conditions,
and sometimes also by distance, language, race and cultural differences.
However, disadvantaged schools are not all of a piece. They differ considerably
in terms of their population, size, structure, history, ethos, location
and so on. The three schools attended by the case study children exemplify
Students were selected on the basis of membership in categories of students
statistically known to underachieve (e.g. students in poverty, Aboriginal
students, students using English as their second language and students
in isolated areas). As the project was financed in part by funds marked
for DETE’s equity agenda, it was important that the case studies included
children in the target categories wherever possible. Unfortunately, none
of the Year Three cohorts in the three schools included Aboriginal children,
even though each school had a higher than average enrolment of Aboriginal
students. The original cohort of 21 included 10 boys and 11 girls, (including
six children who were the focus studies of an earlier research trial).
In selecting case study children, the researchers consulted with teachers
and endeavoured to work with children who were School Card holders (2),
whilst accepting that their status might change across the project.
Our object in this work was to explore what each particular child took
from the literacy curriculum on offer in each class and to describe the
literacies they were acquiring at school. Thus, our goal was not to compare
children on a pre-developed grid of competencies, but rather to inductively
analyse the kinds of literacies they were learning; the factors shaping
their uptake; and each child’s way of doing literacy in the school. On
this basis, we hoped to be able to draw some conclusions about children’s
pathways to literacy in and for the middle years of primary.
The research employed ethnographic and interpretive research methodologies.
We also drew upon critical and feminist research and on principles of
participatory research. In practice, this meant that the team was committed
- the importance of extended and intensive observation and interviews
- respect for teachers’ and students’ standpoints and perspectives
- the need to understand institutional locations
- the need to consider the local in the context of the national and
In this project literacy is understood as being socially constructed
in everyday institutional and discursive practices. Thus it is in day-to
day living that student differences (such as socio-economic status, race,
bilingualism, gender, location) can impact on how literacy is learned,
taught and assessed. From this perspective, literacy is not seen as a
unitary skill on a single developmental scale, but as repertoires of practice
that are learnt in use over time with assistance from teachers, parents
Three main methods of generating data were employed: gathering of classroom
and school artefacts; participant interviews with case study students
and teachers; and classroom observation. The data comprised the ordinary,
everyday practices of teachers and students including (a) units of work
extending over several weeks, (b) individual student activity, and (c)
whole-class assessment practices. The different data sets produced a rich
picture of the curriculum that was offered, how students engaged with
it, what they produced through it, and how teachers assessed students’
The writing of case studies was guided by three key research questions:
- Which literate practices are these children given access to and practice
- What do these children take up from what is on offer?
- What changes in literacy development are evident over time?
In addition, other school, classroom and assessment data was analysed.
For instance, teacher-written student reports were subjected to critical
discourse analytic approaches in order to identify how literacy progress
was constituted in these documents (Comber 1996, 1997b). Analysis of the
literacy curricula was informed by critical frameworks for understanding
literacy as social and cultural practices (Freebody & Luke 1990, Durrant
& Green 1998, 2001, Green, 1988). Such frameworks emphasise that literacy
requires more than mastery of the operational aspects of cracking the
code, which is a necessary but insufficient resource for participating
in contemporary schooling and community life. It also requires an understanding
of how to use language in particular situations and how to analyse the
effects of particular textual practices.
In this section of the paper we attempt to distil some of the key findings
that may inform policy, school and classroom practice, teacher education
and further research. These were formulated by reading across the case
study and school data over time. The findings are grouped under three
- Socio-economically disadvantaged children – what did the case
study students bring to school?
- The literacy curriculum on offer in the middle primary years –
what did the case study children make of that?
- Literacy teaching and learning in the project schools – what
is needed to make it work?
Socio-economically disadvantaged children – what did the case
study students bring to school?
- Children in middle primary classrooms had acquired a vast and varied
array of literate practices from family and community life and early
schooling. To put it simply, there was a very great range in what these
children could do with words. Some children had extremely sophisticated
practices; some children were getting started with print. Some children
were literate in more than one language; some were learning English
as an additional language. The range of competencies children differentially
had under control included:
- Reading picture books or junior novels
- Writing a readable diary entry
- Producing reports or illustrated stories
- Searching the Internet for games, favourite sports and media sites
- Putting literacy to work in community, school and family contexts
by writing letters, guides and invitations.
Children had differential linguistic, cultural capital and literate resources.
Some children had resources that matched those valued by the school and
some did not. Students well positioned in this regard had resources acquired
at home that included:
- family knowledge and involvement in the performative arts which called
for public display such as drama, public speaking, choir and so on
- knowledge of ‘business’ practices through engagement with family accounts
- expertise with personal or family libraries, diaries, calendars, and
Other children may have had resources which they were unable to make
use of at school because they remained invisible or disconnected from
the curriculum, or because they were seen as inappropriate or irrelevant
for school (e.g. forms of computing, bilingualism, knowledge of popular
culture and media genres). Whether children were able to use their existing
repertoires of practice was contingent on what teachers judged as valuable
or appropriate. Some children were able to use their existing repertoires
of practice on a continual basis; for other children there were many fewer
connections and they had to do more work to make sense of school assignments
Some children because they were not yet fluently bilingual, had difficulty
in fully engaging with the curriculum. In the early stages of becoming
bilingual, students were not able to fully address the curriculum on offer.
This may be either because they had not previously engaged with the cultural
experiences assumed in the curriculum. If the curriculum missed was not
revisited later on, what they had missed remained a gap in their learning.
We saw students who were making good progress in learning English, but
who nevertheless tended to miss the significance of key points in their
reading and in their teachers’ presentations. Also, they were sometimes
unable to engage meaningfully with the grammar lessons on offer to the
whole class, and certain phonic approaches to spelling. For all of these
students, even those most fluent in English, participating in whole class
discussion was limited to occasions when their teacher nominated them
to speak. Teachers could not assume full access to all aspects of the
The literacy curriculum on offer in the middle primary years Î what
did the case study children make of that?
Middle primary school literacies frequently featured practices and ways
of organising curriculum that were different from the early years literacies.
Common practice in primary school curriculum included resource-based learning
(projects), spelling and theme-based contracts, the production of set
genres (e.g. reports, procedures, recounts, narratives), sheet literacies
(i.e. photocopied sheets with spelling, punctuation and vocabulary exercises),
library time, and using computers. These practices sometimes require students
to maintain a sense of the task, plot and purpose over extended time periods.
This meant that students needed to develop understanding of the curriculum
logic or literate practices beyond the immediate literacy task. They were
expected to listen to and understand teachers’ explanations of assignments
and internalise consistent features of genres or work practices so that
they could apply them elsewhere. They were expected to be independent
and responsible in knowing where they were up to and how to proceed. In
order to meet these expectations, students needed to have some investment
in the program, the content and in schooling. They could rarely simply
pick up on a moment-by-moment basis what they needed for the lesson.
Middle primary school academic work was contingent upon children being
able to read and write well enough to engage in and display learning.
A great deal of the academic curriculum from middle primary school onwards
required that children could not only read and write, but also that they
could learn new concepts and information (and display such learning) through
their textual practices. For example, children in many different classrooms
were expected to learn about animal behaviour, habitats and predators.
Using resource-based learning approaches, teachers assigned tasks that
required extended reading of multiple texts in the hunt for answers to
specific questions. Sometimes these tasks then needed to be reassembled
into extended assignments know as ‘contracts’ or ‘projects’. The display
of learning expected by teachers often required a combination of talk
and the production of verbal and visual hybrid texts as ‘published’ artefacts
for permanent display or record. Doing school properly in primary school
was contingent on children having increasingly independent literate practices.
Children were expected to be able to find, locate, sort and organise material
in print and in electronic form. The curriculum was largely organised
through reading, writing and talking and it was assumed that children
could appropriate new knowledge by reading and listening. They were assumed
to be able to replicate the texts they read and to transform information
for their own purposes.
Middle primary school literacy expectations emphasised ‘communicative
depth’, in terms of quantity, detail and interest. Primary teachers were
not satisfied with children simply reading and writing. There was an expectation
that students would produce material that was inherently interesting,
accurate, detailed and of sufficient quality to display their knowledge,
thoughts and understandings. This set of expectations was central in teachers’
explicit instruction and in the feedback they gave, and featured in in-term
reports. Students were expected to write for their readers and speak with
an audience’s needs in mind. There was an increasing expectation that
students would be able to effectively present, perform and display greater
‘depth’ of understanding and learning. Communication of the ‘content’
of what they have learnt as well as an understanding of what they have
achieved in learning was expected in many classrooms we observed. Students
were also expected to engage with and produce complex and extended texts,
including a range of genres in a range of media.
It was clear that even within the same classroom in the same schools,
children in middle primary classroom were assembling different repertoires
of literate practices. When children acquire literate practices they become
expert in the practices of their community (classroom, school, peer, home).
Because new expertise is always contingent upon what children already
know and can do, what they have access to and the extent to which they
make use of what is on offer, they may finish middle primary school not
only with different levels of competence, but with competence in different
practices. The diversity of literate proficiencies and practices became
extremely visible at this time of school. Children were making multiple
and different kinds of meanings and assembling different repertoires of
literate practices. An issue for teachers is ensuring that children acquire
the kinds of literate practices upon which school learning is contingent.
A further issue is the extent to which children appropriate and see as
valuable the literacies on offer as relevant and useful in everyday life.
Middle primary students were expected to acquire self-reflective practices
as a key move in becoming independent. In the primary years there was
an expectation that not only would children be able to do the task required,
but that they would have developed or were developing meta-awareness of
their strategies for learning and solving problems. Teachers regularly
articulated strategies for learning, reading, writing, spelling and so
on, and encouraged children to similarly understand and articulate their
processes in terms of their effectiveness and productivity. Literacy lessons
played a central role in teachers’ efforts to enhance children’s meta-cognitive
and meta- linguistic awareness. Literacy was seen as a tool for learning,
as an object of learning and as a social practice needed for full membership
of the school community.
We saw children who were engaged superficially in school tasks, but not
connected with substantive pedagogical purposes, logic or academic concepts.
Some children’s literate repertoires allowed them to produce parts of
tasks with continual support from peers and teachers, yet they showed
no evidence of understanding the fundamental object of the lesson or assignment.
Even though such children may have received explicit teaching and ongoing
scaffolding to keep them participating, they appeared not to acquire the
principles, purpose, or schema for the academic focus. The assistance
they sought was often at the level of ‘What do we have to do next?” Their
practices featured copying from peers and other textual resources, extensive
use of erasers and pencil sharpeners, and frequent help-seeking. Their
requests for help, their questions and their orientation to the task indicated
that they were operating at a surface level of understanding of what was
required. While they sometimes ultimately produced assignments that appeared
similar to those of their peers, it was an illusion of parity, because
they had not independently been able to understand the purposes of the
task, the key concepts informing it or how to proceed with it. It was
not that no learning or achievement was being made in such cases, but
that teachers could not assume that these children were learning what
they had intended.
Students acquired school literacies via different trajectories. Some
children appeared to make a relatively slow start in one or more aspects
of their literacy learning (e.g. spelling or reading or writing) and then
make breakthroughs that led them to accelerate and orchestrate their progress
across modes. Teachers, parents and these children seemed to believe not
only that everything would fall into place (and, indeed, it seemed to),
but that they would do well. In fact, several such children became high
achieving students by upper primary. For these children, a crucial factor
appeared to be the undoubted ‘belief’ in their capacity to do well. However,
other children who began well failed to live up to their expected potential
and seemed to plateau after good early progress (as indicated by school
reports). Still other children who began to acquire literate practices
very slowly, at the end of the study still had a fragile relationship
with schooling, literacy and learning. In other words, there were a number
of different ‘patterns of development’ within the slice of time of the
research study. A complex challenge for middle school teachers is to be
alert to these differences and plan curricula, textual resources, and
pedagogy that take this range into account.
Literacy teaching and learning in the project schools Î what is needed
to make it work?
Teaching literacy in low socio-economic communities requires highly skilled
and committed teachers. Since 1975, the Federal government of Australia
has provided extra resources to schools serving socio-economically disadvantaged
communities. From the Disadvantaged Schools Program of the last three
decades to the Commonwealth Literacy Program, there has been the recognition
of the need to differentially resource schools and families suffering
financial hardship. This study confirms that the nature of teachers’ work
in schools in poor communities is highly complex and demanding. This study
also confirms that children and their families in these schools have suffered
from the effects of poverty, unemployment, moving house on numerous occasions
(and sometimes from country to country and from city to countryside).
Sometimes these effects have long-term impact, as with illness and dislocation.
Some children and their families also have to deal with learning English
as a second language as well as racism within the wider community. Poverty
changes the way families live and means that they have less economic capital
to assist them in resourcing their children’s education. Poverty does
not mean that the children come to school with no resources. Indeed, the
children in this study, and their families and teachers, were extremely
resourceful but they had to continually work at it: nothing could be taken
for granted, and nothing came easily, This research strongly supports
the need for ongoing supplemental assistance in order that teachers can
really make a difference to the educational opportunities of the young
people in their classrooms.
Teachers’ pedagogies represented an amalgam of school priorities and
ethos, professional experience and knowledge, accumulated wisdom and available
resources. Teachers did not simply follow one approach or program; rather
the evidence suggested that they were constantly assembling their pedagogical
resources and know-how. This study indicates that teachers had particular
principles and beliefs that guided their practices and helped them to
prioritise. Specific techniques and curriculum were inflected with teachers’
professional styles and the school ethos. Hence resource-based learning
was very different in different classrooms with different teachers designing
an enacting the curriculum. A ‘spelling’ time slot meant something different
to different teachers. There were traces of creative writing, process
writing and genre-based curriculum within a single classroom. The resources
available also made a difference. For instance, access to library resources,
literature, text and workbooks (e.g. spelling), computers and software
materials for writing and publication: all made a difference to what teachers
attempted. The material resources for school literacies are crucial to
children’s learning. These are not simply tools, but the actual representational
materials with which children learn to make meanings.
Teachers highly valued one-to-one and small group pedagogical occasions
where intensive targeted teaching and immediate feedback could be provided.
A number of children in the study needed considerable support to participate
successfully in the curriculum on offer. This support included intensive
assistance with writing, targeted instruction in reading, close monitoring
of attention and organisation and clarification of the language of tasks,
concepts and procedures. All children in the study needed this kind of
assistance from time to time. Some children in the study needed this kind
of support almost every lesson. Teachers reported that when whole school
structures allowed for an extra adult in the classroom during literacy
lessons, they felt able to give the quality of teaching that was essential
to the progress of children with difficulties. Often this was done through
the support of an ESL teacher or a school service officer (SSO). Given
the very great differences in students’ proficiencies, teachers needed
to adapt their teaching continuously so that all children could benefit
Literacy assessments occurred throughout classroom activities and across
the curriculum. Assessment was integral to classroom practice and, in
some cases, built into a diagnostic approach to teaching where teachers
continuously monitored children’s take-up of literate practices, attitudes
and understandings. Often this work was achieved orally, with teachers
providing an almost continuous flow of feedback to the class as a whole
and targeted towards specific individuals. In one case, the school developed
an explicit written response format that indicated to students how their
writing measured up against genre-specific criteria. Sometimes teachers’
assessments were intended to act as a jolt to students who were judged
to be performing under their capabilities. In other cases, what might
have objectively looked like a very poor performance, may have been assessed
as good work for a particular student. As well as ongoing classroom assessments,
schools had developed their own ways of auditing students’ literacy performances.
One school, for instance, made its own standards against which children
were assessed with the distinct purpose of deciding how resources were
used and how students should be grouped. The important finding here was
that teachers and school leaders were highly conscious of assessing at
individual, class and cohort levels. They used their assessments to work
out what particular students needed as well as to construct their whole
class literacy programs.
Literacy reporting was shaped by whole-school structures for reporting
more generally, and by the constructions teachers placed on literacy.
Different kinds of information about literacy were made available through
different reporting procedures. All of these reporting options constructed
literacy in different and complementary ways, and those needed to be considered
together in order to understand students’ literacy development. Portfolios
of students’ work and parent-teacher or three-way interviews provided
opportunities for individualised comments directly relating to assessment
tasks and work samples. Report cards provided opportunities for normative
comments relating to the curriculum as a whole and the individual student
in relation to the cohort. The extent to which literacy was a key focus
(or not) in report cards used one of two organising principles: learning
areas or key competencies backed up by comments on students’ dispositions
towards schooling in general. While spaces allocated to English and to
communication skills provided the opportunities for reporting on literacy,
teachers also reported on it across the curriculum and under other key
competencies, particularly in regard to information technology.
Many educational researchers paint a bleak picture of how children from
low socio-economic backgrounds experience schooling and of their educational
and literacy outcomes (Guice & Brooks 1977, Haberman 1991, Polakow 1993).
However, this study is one of several that depict the complex and positive
work that is going on in schools and is making a difference to students’
learning (Allington & Johnston 2000, Gregory & Williams 2000). A central
rationale for this study was the need to explore teacher- learner interactions
and literacy lessons which work for students. Fortunately, we are not
in the position of some researchers who have been faced with results they
would have preferred not to report (Guice & Brooks 1997). Nevertheless,
the research report is not entirely celebratory. Having taken the perspective
of students, we endeavoured to demonstrate the connections and the mismatches,
the breakthroughs and the confusions.
We have argued that the literacy development in the primary years is
contingent on a number of interrelated factors, both in the home and school
environments. A lot has been written and said about the effects of children’s
home lives on children’s literacy learning. We believe that children’s
home lives do need to be taken into account, and in particular that the
possible effects of poverty be anticipated. Illness, family dislocation,
unemployment and so on do make a difference in the lives of families and
to children’s learning. Yet it is equally important to work against deficit
equations about poverty and illiteracy (Comber 1997a, Freebody et al.
1995, Gregory & Williams 2000). Hence education systems must work on at
least two fronts: one, to ensure that students are provided with all the
resources they need to engage with and learn from the program and two,
designing and delivering a program that is both culturally responsive
and futures-driven. That is, it must both work with what students bring,
and offer them the new discursive resources and literate practices that
they do not yet have.
What was working for young people in literacy lessons in these school
communities? The case studies show that children had access to and appropriated
many literate practices and learning strategies that their teachers modelled
and made important. We saw children emerging as strategic learners with
skills and dispositions that should stand them in good stead throughout
their educational trajectories. But if we could add further to the complex
mix that teachers provided, what might we suggest?
We have described the emphasis in these years as being on ‘communicative
depth’. Students were engaged in the production and comprehension of more
detailed and complex texts. We saw relatively little analytical work around
language and textual practices Î what has been described elsewhere as
critical literacy (Comber & Simpson 2001, Lankshear 1994, Luke 2000) or
critical language awareness (Janks 1993). Rather, the literate practices
we observed tended to emphasise the operational and cultural dimensions
(Durrant & Green 2001, Green 1988). Yet we observed more analytical work
in the previous research trial when the children were in Year Three (Comber
et al 2001) so we know that these students were capable or engaging with
critical and analytical dimensions of literate practices. The lack of
emphasis on critical analysis may have coincided with competing priorities
as teachers introduced children to reading and writing to learn. However,
there were many opportunities for discussion about the relationship may
have coincided with competing priorities as teachers introduced children
to reading and writing to learn. However, there were many opportunities
for discussion about the relationships between language use, knowledge
and power that were not exploited by teachers. Where such critical work
did occur it was often in relation to television, movies, advertising
and popular culture, as if those were the areas requiring critical scrutiny.
Other kinds of informational texts, such as encyclopedias, were treated
as factual and authoritative. If we lay a grid across the curriculum on
offer we can see that teachers tended to privilege particular versions
of literacy during the primary years. Being literate in these classrooms
meant becoming readers and writers, who could use literate practices to
meet particular requirements, organise themselves and work to a schedule.
Accomplishing these practices was valuable, crucial even, for children’s
take-up of the wider academic curriculum. We raise the issue of the diminished
role of the critical and analytical here because we believe that this
is equally central in children’s ongoing learning and literacy development.
Many studies of effective teaching in high poverty schools reduce their
findings to lists of teacher attributes, program features or pedagogical
do’s and don’ts (for a useful synthesis, see Allington & Johnston 2000).
A number of such studies make it seem as though successful teaching is
all or nothing, but this is not what we found. In our study, teaching
and learning were highly complex interactive activities that required
continual negotiation and monitoring.
In terms of school-related factors that affect children’s literacy development,
the study shows the profound affect of both school and classroom practices.
Of particular note are school structures designed to facilitate one-to-one
and small group interactions, and teachers’ classroom discourses designed
to develop particular literate dispositions. We argue that the following
factors at school make a difference to what children learn:
- the recognition factor (the extent to which what children can do counts
and they can see that it counts)
- the resources factor (the extent to which schools have human and material
resources they need)
- the curriculum factor (the quality, scope and depth of what is made
- the pedagogical factor (the quality of teacher instructional talk,
teacher-student relationships and assessment practices)
- the take-up factor(the extent to which children appropriate literate
practices and school authorised discourses)
- the translation factor (the extent to which children can make use
of and assemble repertoires of practice which they can use in new situations).
These factors indicate that it is the relationship between what schools
and teachers provide, and what students are able to do with that, which
makes a difference in the literacies children assemble at school.
- The study, Socio-economically Disadvantaged
Students and the Development of Literacies in School: A Longitudinal
Study, was a collaborative research project (no C79804522) between
the Disadvantaged Schools Component of the Commonwealth Literacy Program,
in the South Australian Department of Education, Training and Employment
(DETE) and the Centre for Studies in Literacy, Policy and Learning Cultures,
University of South Australia between 1998 and 2000. The research was
jointly funded by a grant from DETE and the Australian Research Council
(ARC) Strategic Partnership with Industry Research Partners (SPIRT)
scheme. The views herein do not necessarily represent the views of DETE
- School cards are given to families whose socio-economic
circumstances are such that they are allocated health cards. It is a
recognised indicator of poverty in schools.
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