Myths of Illiteracy
Childhood Memories of Reading in London's East End
In late 20th century Britain, a paradigm of early literacy prevails within which the home "story-reading" experience — providing "enjoyment", "pleasure, " or "fun" to parent and child — is seen as an essential prerequisite for later school success. When children's reading expeňences do not fall within this paradigm, their knowledge about literacy remains invisible in the classroom. However, the findings in this paper belie the popular image that equates economic poverty with low literacy interests and achievement. The paper shows that, throughout the 20th century, the East London neighbourhood of Spitalfields has maintained a rich literacy on family and community levels. It argues that these literacy activities, although unrecognised by the school, act as important supports for the achievement of school literacy. The paper thus contributes to the theoretical debate on the role played by "unofficial" home and community literacy practices on children's reading development in school.
Published online: 23 July 1999
Cited by 1 other publications
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