Document Type


Date of Degree


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Carolyn Colvin


This research study exploring multiple first grade literacy practices draws from the notion of multiliteracies. Literacy is dynamic and complex. New technologies are reconfiguring how we conceptualize literacy in work, home and school communities. A variety of factors including access to technology, governmental interventions in literacy instruction, public discourse, and teacher beliefs facilitate what constitutes literacy in schools today. Literacy teachers are caught between policies which advocate for a standardized test score as an appropriate literacy measure and enacting instruction that allows students to successfully acquire literacy that is captured by national and local testing. This study explores these tensions in the broader context of shifting definitions of literacy.

Modes and media of communication expressed, valued, and counted as legitimate literacy are explored. The teacher's literacy instruction is examined, noting her knowledge and beliefs that reflected the constraints of mandated literacy instruction or embraced a multiliteracies perspective. How children were positioned in the classroom according to this perspective sheds light on social status and power relationships in association to highly valued literacy practices of reading and writing. Key findings from this study affirm that proficiency with print is critical in today's classrooms because of standardized test measures and subsequent mandates from governmental bodies. Schools that are identified as in need of assistance according to NCLB find themselves positioned as recipients of highly prescribed literacy instruction. Teachers who are required to follow mandated literacy instruction begin to doubt their own knowledge and beliefs when instruction is scrutinized under these mandates. Results from this research suggest that privilege associated with proficiency in print cuts across other modes and media as does struggle with the alphabetic code. Those children who have proficiency also have opportunities others do not.




viii, 228 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 219-228).


Copyright 2006 Tammy Ewing Everett

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