Literacy, Power and Social Justice

May 2000
More details
  • Publisher
    Trentham Books
  • Published
    1st May 2000
  • ISBN 9781858561578
  • Language English
  • Pages 204 pp.
  • Size 7" x 9.6875"

For the families of many minority language children in schools in the English-speaking world, community literacies have special meanings linked with cultural identity. Yet many schools function as if the only language of literacy is the language of the majority group. They send children home with reading books which are in English, and teacher-parent interactions about children’s literacy are conducted in the language of the dominant group. For parents who are neither literate in English, nor proficient in spoken English, schools’ insistence on English as the language of and about literacy brings about a process of dis-empowerment. Those who are unable to play by the cultural and linguistic rules of the dominant majority are denied power in their children's education. Literacy, Power and Social Justice shows how full literacy can be achieved for minority language communities and brings together examples of good practice and recent research. It reports a study of the home literacy practices of Bangladesh families in Birmingham, UK, using the voices of Bangladeshi women as they talk about their young children becoming literate

"Blackledge's investigation of the functions and contexts of literacy of Bangladeshi families in Birmingham, UK debunks the notion that mothers who are illiterate in English cannot help their children to learn and write English. His study demonstrates that it is educational institutions and teachers who position parents as illiterate and powerless, instead of viewing them as an important resource in the promotion of multiple literacies....This excellent book is highly recommended to education and language policy makers, teacher educators and above all teachers and parents of linguistically diverse children"


Adrian Blackledge

Adrian Blackledge is Senior Lecturer in English at Westhill College of Higher Education.