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Profiles in Emergent Biliteracy

Connery, M. Cathrene

Profiles in Emergent Biliteracy

Children Making Meaning in a Chicano Community

Series: Educational Psychology - Volume 9

Year of Publication: 2011

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2011. X, 167 pp., num. ill.
ISBN 978-1-4331-0863-1 hb.  (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-1-4331-0862-4 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.360 kg, 0.794 lbs

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Book synopsis

How do young children learn to read, write, speak, and listen in two languages? How do emergent readers and writers make meaning within multilingual communities? This book examines the emergent biliteracy development of two kindergarteners growing up in a New Mexican neighborhood. Using ethnographic accounts, the book portrays the familial, communal, and academic contexts in which the children appropriated dual proficiencies in English and Spanish, and provides a window into the homes and lives of these working-class boys and the political, philosophical, and pedagogical world of their bilingual kindergarten. The complexity of emergent biliteracy as a sociocultural-semiotic process is elaborated through Vygotskian theory, the multiple voices of these children, and the action research of their teacher.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

M. Cathrene Connery is Assistant Professor of Education at Ithaca College. A bilingual educator, professor, and advocate, her work draws on Vygotskian theory to examine the nature of creativity and the interface between language, literacy, and sociocultural studies. Dr. Connery has presented on theoretical, pedagogic, and programmatic concerns surrounding the education of culturally and linguistically diverse children for the past 25 years.


«M. Cathrene Connery’s book provides an in-depth look at how two children from el barrio develop academic language and literacy proficiency in both Spanish and English over a nine-month period in her bilingual classroom. The detailed analyses of Toño and Beto’s development reveal how second-language speakers can succeed in schools when they are regarded as emergent bilinguals whose linguistic and cultural backgrounds are valuable resources.» (David Freeman, Professor of Reading and ESL; Chair, Department of Language, Literacy, and Intercultural Studies, University of Texas at Brownsville)
«M. Cathrene Connery invites us for a ride in the back of her truck to experience the lives, homes, schools, and meaning-making practices of two children from a dual immersion kindergarten. Her book is a «must-read» that will transform the preparation of pre-service and in-service teachers, and help them define their own brand of success for children in dual language programs. Connery offers great ideas and tools for success. I recommend highly.» (Josie V. Tinajero, Dean, College of Education, University of Texas at El Paso)
«Too often we write about dual language programs from only research or policy perspectives. This volume gets us on the ground and tells us what it is really like. My hat’s off to M. Cathrene Connery for taking us there and filling in the blanks. I will have all our bilingual and ESL prospective teachers read this volume […] and let it guide them into the profession.» (Eugene E. Garcia, Professor of Education, Vice President and Past Dean, College of Education, Arizona State University)


Educational Psychology: Critical Pedagogical Perspectives. Vol. 9
General Editor: Greg S. Goodman