Building on Home Literacy Experiences

A number of research studies from multiple disciplines demonstrate that students who might be considered "culturally deprived" by some bring to school many language and cultural strengths (Tharp & Gallimore, 1989; Wells, 1986).

Respecting Students' Home Cultures

Educational programs that spring from the idea of cultural deprivation often show disrespect for students' home cultures. Educators must recognize that the linguistic forms and cultural values a student brings to school are intimately connected with that student's loved ones, community, and personal identity. To suggest that what a student brings to school is wrong is to suggest that something is wrong with the student and his or her family (Delpit, 1990).

Building on Experiences Students Bring to School

When we accept children's knowledge about language, learning, and culture, we not only validate their being, but acknowledge their self-worth. Responsible instruction builds on the language, knowledge, and experiences students bring to school, using them as steppingstones for the development of more complex understandings (Flores, Cousin, & Diaz, 1991).
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