Constructing Achievement Orientations Toward Literacy: An Analysis of Sociocultural Activity in Latino Home and Community Contexts

CIERA Report #1-011

Lilia Monzó and Robert Rueda
University of Southern California

CIERA Inquiry 1: Readers and Texts
How do the family contexts in which immigrant Latino children participate contribute to developing an achievement orientation toward literacy and schooling?

Minority children are often thought to lack an achievement orientation. In this paper we discuss the home and community contexts of Latina/o immigrant children in a low-income community in Southern California, to demonstrate how sociocultural factors interact to produce motivation. Our findings reveal that even among demographically similar families, a diverse set of constraints and affordances are at play which significantly impact students achievement orientations toward literacy and schooling. Further, we find that the families' daily struggles to negotiate within a linguistically and culturally unfamiliar environment make the importance of literacy--particularly English literacy--quite transparent to children.

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