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Affordances and recontextualizations : a multiple-case study of young children's engagement in information.. McTavish, Marianne Emily 2010

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 AFFORDANCES AND RECONTEXTUALIZATIONS: A MULTIPLE-CASE STUDY OF YOUNG CHILDREN‟S ENGAGEMENT IN INFORMATION LITERACY PRACTICES IN SCHOOL AND OUT-OF-SCHOOL CONTEXTS  by  MARIANNE EMILY MCTAVISH  B.Ed., The University of British Columbia, 1981 M.Ed., The University of British Columbia, 1991   A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES  (Language and Literacy Education)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)   April, 2010  © Marianne Emily McTavish, 2010  ii   Abstract   Students‟ future worlds will require the use of conventional print literacies and new multiliteracies in order to access and construct information that requires print, electronic and face-to face interactions within private and public economic sectors, and within local and global corporate worlds (Luke, 1998).  Research has called for a new understanding of literacy and literacy teaching and learning to account for the context of our culturally and linguistically diverse and increasingly globalized societies, and to account for the burgeoning variety of text forms associated with information and multimedia technologies (Lankshear & Knobel, 2003a).  Drawing on a sociocultural theory of literacy learning situated in particular contexts, this qualitative multiple-case study examines the school and out-of-school contexts of four second-grade children.  It focuses on the ways in which these contexts afforded and constrained opportunities for the children to engage in, appropriate, and recontextualize information literacy (IL) practices.  Findings show that despite similar constraining factors in both contexts (i.e., press of time, perceived needs, access to informational texts, and disruptions and interruptions), the out-of-school contexts offered the children greater and more diverse opportunities for engagement than did the school context.  Further, findings show that the children‟s school IL practices crossed to out-of-school contexts where the children embedded and changed them in flexible, playful, and contemporary ways that enhanced their IL development. Although the children tried to transfer the practices and genres back in the classroom, these attempts were largely ignored unless they fit with the practices upheld by the school.  The study offers new knowledge of how school literacy may impact some children‟s out-of-school literacies. It provides implications for teachers, parents and curriculum writers in conceiving IL as social practice and in recognizing the role of out-of-school contexts as spaces to construct meaning.  It also suggests that attempts to bring the literacy practices from children‟s out-of-school lives to the school context for purposes of literacy instruction may be misguided; rather, it may be more realistic to concentrate efforts on supporting those out-of-school contexts that enable children to recontextualize school practices for a wider and more global use.     iii   Table of Contents  Abstract .......................................................................................................................................... ii Table of Contents .......................................................................................................................... iii List of Figures ............................................................................................................................... xi Acknowledgements..................................................................................................................... xiii Dedication .................................................................................................................................... xv CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY .............................................................. 1 1.0 Introduction to the study ................................................................................................. 1 1.0.1  Definition of information literacy ............................................................................ 3 1.1   Rationale for the study ................................................................................................... 3 1.1.1 The pilot study ......................................................................................................... 4 1.2 Purpose of the study ........................................................................................................ 6 1.3 Research questions .......................................................................................................... 6 1.4   Theoretical framework .................................................................................................... 7 1.4.1   A sociocultural perspective...................................................................................... 7 1.4.2 Social semiotic theory and multimodality ............................................................. 18 1.4.3 Dialogism ............................................................................................................... 21 1.4.4 Situating “context” in the theoretical framework .................................................. 24 1.5 Unifying the theoretical perspectives ............................................................................ 26 1.6   Significance of the study ............................................................................................... 27 1.7 Summary of the chapter ................................................................................................ 28 1.8  Organization of the dissertation .................................................................................... 28 CHAPTER TWO:  REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE .............................................................. 30 2.0 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 30 2.1 Information literacy research ........................................................................................ 30 2.1.1 Research on using informational texts with young children ................................. 31 2.2  Family literacy research ................................................................................................ 35 2.2.1  The home environment as a context for literacy learning ..................................... 36  iv   2.2.2 Families‟ and family members‟ roles in young children‟s literacy learning ......... 37 2.2.3 Types, availability and uses of texts in the home .................................................. 40 2.3 Young children‟s literacy and technology research (including multimodality and representation of meaning)....................................................................................................... 43 2.4  Out-of-school literacy research ..................................................................................... 46 2.4.1 Research on young children‟s out-of-school literacy ............................................ 47 2.5 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 49 CHAPTER THREE:  RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ............................................................. 51 3.0 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 51 3.1  The research design ....................................................................................................... 51 3.1.1 Rationale for the research design ........................................................................... 52 3.2 The research context and participants ........................................................................... 56 3.2.1 Selection of the school ........................................................................................... 56 3.2.2  Selection of the classroom ..................................................................................... 57 3.2.3 The research participants ....................................................................................... 58 3.2.4 The context of the study ........................................................................................ 60 3.3  Data collection .............................................................................................................. 66 3.3.1 Interviews .............................................................................................................. 67 3.3.2  Observational field notes ....................................................................................... 69 3.3.3 Artefacts ................................................................................................................. 70 3.4 Data analysis ................................................................................................................. 71 3.4.1 The research process .............................................................................................. 75 3.4.2 Field work for the present study and preliminary analysis .................................... 75 3.4.3 Further data collection and further analysis........................................................... 76 3.4.4 Final data collection ............................................................................................... 76 3.4.5 Formal analysis ...................................................................................................... 76 3.5 Role of the researcher ................................................................................................... 79 3.6 Trustworthiness and authenticity of the study .............................................................. 80 3.6.1 Objectivity/confirmability ..................................................................................... 80 3.6.2 Reliability/dependability/auditability .................................................................... 81 3.6.3 Internal validity/credibility/authenticity ................................................................ 82  v   3.6.4   External validity/transferability/fittingness ........................................................... 82 3.6.5  Utilization/application/action orientation .............................................................. 83 3.7 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 83 CHAPTER FOUR:  SCHOOL CONTEXT AFFORDANCES:  OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN‟S ENGAGEMENT IN IL PRACTICES ................................................................ 84 4.0   Introduction ................................................................................................................... 84 4.1   The focal teacher: Ms. Davidson .................................................................................. 85 4.1.1 Ms. Davidson‟s personal literacy history .............................................................. 85 4.1.2 Ms. Davison‟s IL practices .................................................................................... 87 4.1.3 Ms. Davidson‟s philosophy of instruction ............................................................. 89 4.2 Grade two in Ms. Davidson‟s room: The focal classroom ........................................... 91 4.2.1   Description of the focal classroom ........................................................................ 91 4.2.2 The IL curriculum of the focal classroom ............................................................. 93 4.3 The school IL practices of the focal children ................................................................ 94 4.4 The spheres of activity in the school context that offer opportunities for children to engage in IL practices .............................................................................................................. 98 4.5 Summary and discussion ............................................................................................. 108 CHAPTER FIVE:  SCHOOL CONTEXT AFFORDANCES:  FACTORS THAT CONSTRAIN OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN‟S ENGAGEMENT IN IL PRACTICES...................... 111 5.0   Introduction ................................................................................................................. 111 5.1 “We need to hurry…”:   The press of time as a factor in constraining opportunities for children to engage in IL practices .......................................................................................... 113 5.2 “They are so needy!”:  The factor of perceived needs that constrained children‟s opportunities to engage in IL practices .................................................................................. 126 5.2.1 Strategies used to meet the perceived needs of the children ............................... 129 5.3 “You can only choose one information book…”:  Access to informational texts as a factor that constrained opportunities for children to engage in IL practices in the school context .................................................................................................................................... 132 5.3.1 Strategies used to enhance children‟s access to informational text ..................... 135 5.4 “Today‟s been crazy…”: Disruption/interruption as a factor in constraining opportunities for children to engage in IL practices in the school context ............................ 135 5.4.1 Strategies to ameliorate the factor of disruption/interruption .............................. 137  vi   5.5 Summary and discussion ............................................................................................. 138 CHAPTER SIX:  OUT-OF-SCHOOL CONTEXT AFFORDANCES:  OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN‟S ENGAGEMENT IN IL PRACTICES .............................................................. 143 6.0 Introduction ................................................................................................................. 143 6.1      Tara Crawford ............................................................................................................. 144 6.1.1 Description of the Crawford household ............................................................... 145 6.1.2 Debbie Crawford‟s personal literacy history ....................................................... 147 6.1.3 Debbie Crawford‟s IL practices........................................................................... 148 6.1.4 Tara‟s out-of school IL practices ......................................................................... 149 6.1.5 The spheres of activity in the out-of-school context that offer opportunities for Tara to engage in IL practices ............................................................................................ 151 6.2 Jack Hunt .................................................................................................................... 155 6.2.1 Description of the Hunt household ...................................................................... 157 6.2.2 Janice Hunt‟s personal literacy history ................................................................ 158 6.2.3 Janice Hunt‟s IL practices ................................................................................... 159 6.2.4 Jack‟s out-of-school IL practices ......................................................................... 161 6.2.5 The spheres of activity in the out-of-school contexts that offer opportunities for Jack to engage in IL practices ............................................................................................ 163 6.3 Ivan Wang ................................................................................................................... 167 6.3.1 Description of the Wang household .................................................................... 169 6.3.2 Marion and Terry Wang‟s personal literacy histories ......................................... 170 6.3.3  Marion‟s and Terry Wang‟s IL practices............................................................. 172 6.3.4  Ivan‟s out-of-school IL practices ......................................................................... 174 6.3.5 The spheres of activity in the out-of-school context that offer opportunities for Ivan to engage in IL practices ............................................................................................ 177 6.4 Ross Mason-Miller ...................................................................................................... 182 6.4.1 Description of the Mason household ................................................................... 183 6.4.2 Julia Mason‟s personal literacy history ............................................................... 184 6.4.3 Julia Mason‟s IL practices ................................................................................... 185 6.4.4 Description of the Miller household .................................................................... 186 6.4.5 Robert Miller‟s personal literacy history ........................................................... 186 6.4.6 Robert Miller‟s IL practices................................................................................. 187  vii   6.4.7 Ross‟ out-of-school IL practices .......................................................................... 188 6.4.8 The spheres of activity in the out-of-school context that offer opportunities for Ross to engage in IL practices ............................................................................................ 191 6.5  Summary and discussion ............................................................................................ 195 CHAPTER SEVEN:  OUT-OF-SCHOOL CONTEXT AFFORDANCES:  FACTORS THAT CONSTRAIN OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN‟S ENGAGEMENT IN IL PRACTICES ................................................................................................................................................... 197 7.0 Introduction ................................................................................................................. 197 7.1 “There is never enough time…”:  The lack of time as a factor in constraining opportunities for children to engage in IL practices .............................................................. 198 7.1.1 Strategies used to ameliorate the lack of time ..................................................... 205 7.2 “If a kid‟s not being challenged, there‟s always the risk that they will get lazy”: The factor of perceived needs as a factor in constraining children‟s opportunities to engage in IL practices ................................................................................................................................. 210 7.2.1 Strategies used by the parents to meet the perceived needs of their child ........... 213 7.3   “Right now we‟re having Internet problems”:  Access to information as a factor in constraining the focal children‟s opportunities to engage in IL practices ............................. 214 7.3.1 Strategies used by the parents to facilitate the focal children‟s access to   information ......................................................................................................................... 217 7.4 “Everybody always has their crisis at the same time …”: Disruption/interruption  as a factor in constraining the focal children‟s opportunities to engage in IL practices ............... 219 7.4.1 Strategies used by the parents of the focal children to ameliorate the factor of disruption/interruption ........................................................................................................ 221 7.5 Summary and discussion ............................................................................................. 221 CHAPTER EIGHT:  CHILDREN‟S APPROPRIATION AND RECONTEXTUALIZATION OF SCHOOL AND OUT-OF-SCHOOL IL PRACTICES ....................................................... 226 8.0 Introduction ................................................................................................................. 226 8.1 “I‟ll do it my own way…”:  Tara‟ s appropriation and recontextualization of school and out-of-school IL practices ...................................................................................................... 227 8.1.1 From mapping skills worksheet to designing a virtual bedroom ......................... 228 8.1.2 “This one‟s hard!”:  Changing the rules changes the game ................................. 231 8.1.3 “Take out as many skinny books as you want”:  Playing school at home........... 233  viii   8.2 “I just think it in my head…”:  Ivan‟s appropriation and recontextualization of school and out-of-school IL practices ............................................................................................... 235 8.2.1 Information books as resources for recontextualization ...................................... 236 8.2.2 Popular culture as resources for recontextualization ........................................... 239 8.2.3 Media as resources for recontextualization ......................................................... 241 8.2.4 Personal experience as resources for recontextualization ................................... 241 8.2.5 Juxtaposing home and school journal writing ..................................................... 242 8.3 “Canucks game tonight!”: Ross‟ appropriation and recontextualization of school and out-of-school IL practices ...................................................................................................... 244 8.3.1 Journal entries as sports reports and play-by-plays ............................................. 244 8.3.2 Anticipating the game .......................................................................................... 246 8.4 Jack‟s appropriation and recontextualization of school and out-of-school IL practices ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 248 8.4.1 Video gaming as journal writing topics ............................................................... 249 8.4.2 Video games become subject for dramatic play .................................................. 252 8.5  Summary and discussion ............................................................................................. 254 CHAPTER NINE:  CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS, AND FURTHER WORK .............. 260 9.0   Introduction ................................................................................................................ 260 9.1   Conclusions drawn from the findings of the study .................................................... 260 9.1.1 The affordances of school contexts in young children‟s IL development ........... 260 9.1.2 The affordances of out-of-school contexts in young children‟s IL development 263 9.1.3 Contexts for recontextualizations ........................................................................ 264 9.1.4  Contributions of the study to our knowledge of literacy and learning ................ 265 9. 2  Theoretical Implications ............................................................................................. 266 9.2.1 IL as a situated and sociocultural practice ........................................................... 266 9.2.2 IL, social semiotics and multimodality ................................................................ 268 9.2.3 IL and dialogism .................................................................................................. 268 9.2.4  IL and a comprehensive theoretical framework .................................................. 269 9. 3 Implications of the study ............................................................................................. 269 9.3.1 Implications for curriculum writers ..................................................................... 269 9.3.2 Implications for teachers and administrators ....................................................... 270 9.3.3 Implications for families ...................................................................................... 273  ix   9.4 Limitations of the study .............................................................................................. 274 9.5 Future research ............................................................................................................ 275 References.................................................................................................................................. 277 Appendix A ................................................................................................................................ 293 Appendix B ................................................................................................................................ 294 Appendix C ................................................................................................................................ 297 Appendix D ................................................................................................................................ 313  x   List of Tables  Table 3.1:  Family members consent for the study and participation in interviews .................... 68 Table 3.2:  Transcription conventions ......................................................................................... 69 Table 3.3:  Artefact collections and setting sources .................................................................... 70 Table 4.1:  Spheres of activity, IL practices and characteristics of activity in the school context ..................................................................................................................................................... 95 Table 5.1:  Factors that constrain opportunities for children to engage in IL practices in the school context ............................................................................................................................ 112 Table 6.1:  The composition of the Crawford family ................................................................ 144 Table 6.2:  Spheres of activity, Tara‟s IL practices, and characteristics of activity in the out-of-school context ............................................................................................................................ 149 Table 6.3: The composition of the Hunt family ........................................................................ 156 Table 6.4:  Spheres of activity, Jack‟s IL practices, and characteristics of activity in the out-of-school contexts........................................................................................................................... 161 Table 6.5: The composition of the Wang family ....................................................................... 168 Table 6.6: Spheres of activity, Ivan‟s IL practices, and characteristics of activity in the out-of-school contexts........................................................................................................................... 175 Table 6.8:  Spheres of activity, Ross‟ IL practices, and characteristics of activity in the out-of-school contexts........................................................................................................................... 189 Table 7.1:  Factors that constrain out-of-school opportunities for the focal children to engage in IL practices ................................................................................................................................ 198 Table 8.1:  Summary of the appropriated and recontextualized IL practices of the focal children in school and out-of-school contexts ......................................................................................... 254    xi   List of Figures  Figure 1.1:   A comprehensive framework for analysis of the study ........................................... 26 Figure 3.1:   Data analysis as three concurrent flows of activity (Miles & Huberman, 1994). ... 72 Figure 3.2:   The research process ............................................................................................... 74 Figure 4.1:   Ross‟ journal entry ................................................................................................ 100 Figure 4.2:   Ivan‟s journal entry ............................................................................................... 101 Figure 4.3:   Tara‟s journal entry ............................................................................................... 101 Figure 4.4:   Jack‟s journal entry ............................................................................................... 102 Figure 4.5:   Planner routines ..................................................................................................... 107 Figure 5.1:   Factors that constrain the focal students‟ opportunities to engage in IL practices in the school context ...................................................................................................................... 142 Figure 7.1:   Factors constraining focal children‟s opportunities to engage in IL practices in out-of-school contexts ...................................................................................................................... 225 Figure 8.1:   Mapping Tara‟s bedroom in the school context .................................................... 229 Figure 8.2:   Tara‟s virtual bedroom .......................................................................................... 230 Figure 8.3:   Tara‟s weekly spelling worksheet ......................................................................... 232 Figure 8.4:   Ivan‟s sketch of a locomotive engine .................................................................... 237 Figure 8.6:   Ivan‟s illustration to accompany his writing for the topic “What is Canada?” ..... 238 Figure 8.7:   Ivan‟s writing on the topic “What is Canada?” ..................................................... 238 Figure 8.9:   Ivan‟s mélange of characters appropriated from the TV program Sponge Bob .... 240 Figure 8.10: Ivan‟s depiction of crab-fishing in the TV program The Deadliest Catch ........... 241 Figure 8.11: Ivan‟s sketch of his visit to the hospital to meet his new brother ......................... 242 Figure 8.12: Ivan‟s home journal entry regarding his impending trip to China ........................ 243 Figure 8.13: Ross‟ sports report ................................................................................................ 245 Figure 8.15: Ross‟ recontextualized hockey schedule for the month of January ...................... 246 Figure 8.16: Ross‟ poster advertising the televised hockey game ............................................. 247 Figure 8.17: Ross‟ remake of the Jumbo Tron‟s message ......................................................... 248 Figure 8.19: Jack‟s journal entry on “Lego” ............................................................................. 250 Figure 8.20: Lego Star Wars video game for PS2 ..................................................................... 251  xii   Figure 8.21: Jack‟s journal entry asking Ms. Davidson if she has played video games ........... 252 Figure 8.22: The relationship between the focal children‟s appropriations and recontextualizations and the IL practices in school and out-of-school contexts ....................... 257     xiii   Acknowledgements   I would like to thank and acknowledge a number of people to whom I am deeply indebted for their support of this work.  First, I would like to express my gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. Marilyn Chapman, whose mentoring, advice, encouragement, and friendship has been unfailing.  Marilyn, without you, I would have never had the courage to embark on this endeavor and to follow it through to the end.  Your sensitivity, generousity and caring have been a gift.  I hope to make a difference in the lives of others as you have made in mine.  I would also like to thank my dissertation committee members, Doctors Jim Anderson and Nancy Perry.  Jim, I have always appreciated the thoughtful conversations we have had regarding my work and the field of family literacy. Your sense of humour and your kindness in treating me as a colleague and friend has been most appreciated.  Nancy, I thank you for your attentive, respectful, and timely comments as they have had such a positive impact on my work.  I was most fortunate to begin this program with a number of people who have become life-long friends.  I am greatly indebted to my writing group:  Kim, Lyndsay, Kari, Vetta, and Jodi for supporting my growth as a nascent researcher and writer.  Your advice and feedback is only overshadowed by your friendship.  To my dearest friend Kim, I thank you the most.  I cannot begin to express my gratitude for your support.  Your friendship has brought me joy and comfort, and I feel blessed to have completed this journey with you.  I am grateful to the entire community in the Department of Language and Literacy Education including Doctors Geoff Williams, Victoria Purcell-Gates, Theresa Rogers, Jan Hare, Margot Filipenko, Maureen Kendrick, Marlene Asselin, Lee Gunderson, and Jon Shapiro.  I am also grateful to the LLED office staff, in particular, Anne Eastham, graduate secretary, and Teresa O‟Shea, administrative manager, for their patience in dealing with an often harried graduate student.  I am proud to be part of such a dynamic and well-respected academic community.  Perhaps the most important people to thank are the focal children and their families, and the focal teacher, for their participation in this study.  Opening up a family home or classroom to a researcher is not an easy undertaking, and I am indebted to their willingness to do so, and for their trust in me.  I also wish to thank my wonderful teaching partner Ann, who supported me by way of flexible teaching schedules and powerful encouragement, even in times of personal loss.  xiv    I thank the generous financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council as well as the UBC Institute of Early Childhood Education and Research, The UBC Faculty of Education, and The UBC Department of Language and Literacy Education for their financial support in the form of awards.   Finally, I  want to recognize my family for their continued support during these years. To my mother, Eleanor, my sisters and their spouses, my wonderful collection of nieces and nephews, and my in-laws, all of you who consistently and carefully asked about the progress of my studies, I thank you.     In memory of Dr. E.W. Skwarok.                    xv   Dedication   This dissertation is dedicated to my husband, Tracie, and to my children, Michael and Natalie.  Tracie, you have unconditionally and quietly supported me through these years in more ways than I can fully express.  You provided me with the strength, level-headedness, and patience I needed along the way.  You reminded me about balance and life‟s larger picture, and for that I am most grateful.  Michael and Natalie, I thank you for giving me the time to write and to study, and for knowing when to push my chair away from the computer when you needed a hug.  I am so proud of the two of you.  To all of you, thank you for allowing me to fulfill a lifetime dream.        1   CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY  1.0 Introduction to the study  We are living in New Times, a juncture characterized by the domination of a new global capitalism and fuelled by fiercer competition and unprecedented use of sophisticated technology (Gee, Hull, & Lankshear, 1996; Hall, S., 1996; Helfenbein, 2004; Koh, 2004; Luke, 1998).  In response, governments and industries around the world are challenging education systems to focus their attention on literacy in order to maximize peoples‟ contributions to a healthy, democratic and diverse society and maintain a sustainable and prosperous economy.  This intense focus on literacy has caused alarm in educational sectors, resulting in repeated claims that we are entrenched in a literacy crisis. Government organizations, such as Human Resources and Skill Development Canada,  claim that almost half of working-age Canadians do not have the literacy skills they need to meet the ever-increasing demands of modern life (Brink, 2006).  We are told that we need to educate tomorrow‟s workforce to read and write more effectively.  This is generally taken to mean to read and write with greater accuracy and speed and, in some countries (e.g., the United States), has resulted in a wave of reductionism that forces teachers to adhere to tightly regulated literacy learning outcomes and highly scripted reading programs.  As Dyson (2001) points out, many state and provincial curricular guidelines now equate children‟s learning with adults‟ teaching of “orderly lists of literacy knowledge and know-how” (p. 9).   However, school-based or essayist forms of literacy may not necessarily guarantee success in out-of-school contexts (Gee et al., 1996). Students‟ future worlds will require the use of conventional print literacies and new multiliteracies in order to access and construct information that requires print, electronic and face-to face interactions within private and public economic sectors, and within local and global corporate worlds (Luke, 1998). What is needed is a new understanding of literacy and literacy teaching and learning to account for the context of our culturally and linguistically diverse and increasingly globalized societies, and to account for the burgeoning variety of text forms associated with information and multimedia technologies (Lankshear & Knobel, 2003a).  The shift to an information-age and knowledge economy has changed literacy requirements and these requirements will continue to change as new technologies emerge and blend into our everyday private and work lives (Castells, 1996; Drucker, 1993; Gee et al., 1996).  2   Changing technology and the pace of innovation will require “knowledge workers” to flexibly adapt to new circumstances and to integrate Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the workplace (Gee, 2000b; Organisation for Economic and Cooperation Development, 2001),  to think in new ways and take action (Castells, 1996; Gee et al., 1996), and to work in teams “that collaboratively, interactively, and continuously design and redesign their work processes, functions, and relationships” (Gee, 2000b, p. 414).  Essentially, there will be the need to learn how to learn (New London Group, 2000) or unlearn and relearn (Toffler, 1971).  Lonsdale and McCurry (2004) advise,  “The abilities to „read‟ a range of printed, electronic and visual texts; master the new communication technologies via spoken and written language; locate, manage, evaluate and use information or knowledge; and engage critically with media and other texts” (p.32) will be crucial for success in the work world of the new millennium.     The changes outlined above have prompted reconceptualized notions of literacy that encompass new media and ICT (Kinzer & Leander, 2003; Kress, 2003a; Lonsdale & McCurry, 2004).  These new forms of literacy, literacies of information,  are both verbal and multimodal, combining music, printed text, visual images, animation, video, and sound.  Currently, students navigate and interact with websites, web pages, chat tools, e-mail, instant messaging, anime, video, games, hypertext, and hypermedia on a daily basis. These new literacies are not traditional print literacies transferred to on-line contexts; they involve distinctive processes and skills and new competencies for participation in the New Times and in new worlds (Asselin, Early, & Filipenko, 2004).  Further, as  Leu, Ataya, and Coiro (2002) explain:    …while the precise definition of “new literacies” will never be complete…they include  (a) rapidly locating the most useful information within complex ICT networks such as  the Internet; (b) reading and critically evaluating that information for validity and utility;  (c) writing effectively with word processing software; and (d) communicating  information clearly to others with e-mail (p.1).   It should also be acknowledged that some researchers would argue that communication and social networking are more significant than information in new technologies.  For example, Bigum (2002) states, “The biggest impact digital technologies are having and will continue to have is on relationships between people and relationships between people and organizations”  3   (p.135).  With the continued acceleration and advancement of technology, the world of relationships will also change profoundly.  And it should be noted that for others, literacy has a deeply personal and internal function beyond maintaining social connections, and attaining higher-level employment.  1.0.1  Definition of information literacy  Information literacy (IL), may thus be foundational for learning in our contemporary environment of technological change (Bruce, 2002). With the rapid development of ICTs, and the shift to an increasingly complex information environment, educators are now recognizing the need for an education system that stimulates students to acquire and practice new skills in order to build new knowledge beyond what they already have. As Bruce (2002) states, “IL is generally seen as pivotal to the pursuit of lifelong learning, and central to achieving both personal empowerment and economic development” (unpaged). While definitions of IL continue to shift and continue to be debated, for purposes of this dissertation, I draw on several sources (e.g., Larson & Marsh, 2005; Leu et al., 2002; Lonsdale & McCurry, 2004) to operationalize the term.  I define IL as:   the ability to locate, “read,” and manage information within a range of printed, electronic, visual, multimodal texts and ICT networks; to critically evaluate information, and to communicate information clearly via spoken and written language while mediating social networks and relationships.   1.1   Rationale for the study  Early childhood educators have taken up the challenge of designing learning opportunities that will enable learners to take advantage of the information and communication resources available to them.  Such opportunities make it possible for learners to experience the influence of effective information practices. Educational policy makers have responded to research on IL by including requirements in state and provincial standards for students to be competent users of informational texts (cf., Ministry of Education, 2006a).  At the same time, researchers have noted the ability to find, understand, evaluate and synthesize information across a wide variety of sources requires different and more sophisticated reading and writing strategies for informational text than required in the past (Kamil, Intrator, & Kim, 2000; Leu, 2000; Moss, Leone, & Dipillo, 1997).   In order to develop these strategies, researchers have  4   made repeated claims for the importance of providing children experience with informational text early in their developing literacy (Caswell & Duke, 1998; Duke, 2000a; 2004; Fielding & Pearson, 1994; Hiebert & Fisher, 1990; Hirsch, 2003; Pappas, 1991; 1993).    While there continues to be a number of arguments for using informational texts with primary students, there is little research to indicate how this will indeed contribute effectively to participation in an information society.  As Street (2000) has argued, we must take into account the social practices that go into the construction, uses, and meanings of literacy. Indeed, as mentioned previously, it may be much more about creating and managing new relationships (e.g., those established through personal and professional emails, net-based messenger services), than creating and managing new information (Merchant, 2006; Schrage, 1998).  Therefore, the need to investigate how IL is given meaning in the social context and how this meaning-making leads to effective participation in an information age, is increasingly urgent.  Further, it raises questions of how school literacy practices using informational texts may transform out-of-school literacy practices. Focusing solely on school literacies, at the expense of literacies students practice out-of-school, invalidates those literacies in which students are fluent and effective (Knobel, 2001).  At the heart of this issue is not only the relationship between the school and children‟s everyday-life experiences, but the consideration of what counts as effective language and literacy  education of young people.  Schultz and Hull  (2002) have also suggested  research should be documenting the ways school imposes a version of literacy on the outside world.   1.1.1 The pilot study    I became interested in children‟s school and out-of-school IL practices while working as project manager for a larger longitudinal quasi-experimental study, Young Children‟s Informational Literacy (YCIL), in which the principal investigator (PI) asked primary classroom teachers to incorporate informational reading and writing experiences into their instructional program1.  The PI provided funds for each teacher in the study to purchase informational resources such as books, software, and magazines, to support their program.  The foci of the YCIL study included: (a) children‟s reading and writing achievement, (b) genre development, (c) attitudes to informational reading and writing, and (d) engagement with informational reading and writing.  During the YCIL study, I observed students‟ engagement with                                                  1 See Chapman, Filipenko, McTavish, & Shapiro (2007) for further information on this study.  5   informational reading and writing went far beyond the borders of the classroom.  This finding links with Dyson‟s (2003b) and Hull and Schultz‟s (2002) research, which suggests the boundaries between school and out-of-school and are more porous than we imagine.  Wanting to probe deeper into the finer details of these boundaries for my dissertation,   I designed a single case pilot study in order to refine a variety of existing ethnographic techniques (e.g., develop appropriate interview questions, develop respectful interview probes, determine focused observations) to best suit a naturalistic study of young children in the context of their homes and community spaces.  The pilot study examined the intersection between the school IL practices and out-of-school (i.e., home and community) IL practices of a third grade student from a working-class neighbourhood in a large city in Western Canada2.  The results of my pilot study indicated the focal child‟s school and out-of-school IL practices ran parallel to each other and only intersected in ways in which school practices took precedence. For example, drawing on information from home Internet use and home video-gaming, the child wrote a play script featuring street car racing.  While the teacher acknowledged the script in the classroom, she only allowed him time to work on the script after he fulfilled his assigned schoolwork obligations.  Further, I found the teacher did not strongly recognize or value the child‟s out-of-school IL practices in the classroom.  The findings of that case study raised some interesting questions concerning the affordances of the school and out-of-school contexts, which provided opportunities for the child to engage in IL practices.  Wanting to refine my understanding of the affordances of the school and out-of-school3 contexts for my dissertation, my first task was to look closely at how to operationalize the term “affordance.”  Affordance.  The term “affordance” has its roots in perceptual, cognitive, and environmental psychology.  Gibson (1986) introduced the term to describe what an environment “offers the animal, what it provides or furnishes, either for good or ill” (p. 127). Since this time, the concept of affordance has gained popularity resulting in further shifts of meaning.  Over the past few years, the idea has been applied to educational settings.  In particular, affordance has been used in connection with ICT teaching and learning to understand the opportunities for action various technologies provide.  Despite the varied use of the term, its predominant contribution to all fields suggests “a way of seeing the world as a meaning laden environment offering countless opportunities for actions and countless constraints on actions” (Hammond,                                                  2 See McTavish (2009) for further information on this study. 3 It should be noted that for purposes of this dissertation, I define out-of-school as home and community.  6   2009, p.2).  In this study I draw on and extend these ideas to define affordance as the characteristics of activity in its context4 that offers opportunities for engagement in IL practices.  Further, in this definition I also include the notion that some characteristics of activity in its context may also serve as constraints on these opportunities.   Having operationalized affordance, I designed a multiple-case (Yin, 2003), each case instrumental to the understanding of the affordances of the school and out-of-school contexts and their relation to IL learning.   1.2 Purpose of the study   As previously discussed, gaps exist in the research indicating: (a) how young children‟s exposure to informational text will indeed contribute effectively to participation in a global economy and information society, (b) how IL is given meaning in the social context and how this meaning-making leads to effective participation in an information age, and (c) how school literacy practices using informational texts may transform out-of-school literacy practices.  It is the intention of this present study to fill these gaps by investigating: (a) how school contexts afford opportunities for children to engage in IL practices, and (b) how out-of-school contexts afford opportunities for children to engage in IL practices.  From the production and analyses of thick descriptions of the IL practices in both contexts, it examines: (c) the factors that constrain the opportunities in these contexts, and (d) how children appropriate and recontextualize school and out-of-school IL practices for their own purposes.  To date, there is very little research in evidence of young children‟s IL development, and there is virtually no research, with the exception of my pilot study, investigating how school and out-of-school contexts afford opportunities for children to engage in IL practices.  The findings of this present study will give rise to an emerging framework for early childhood IL learning that will meaningfully connect learning across school and out-of-school contexts.  It is anticipated the findings will contribute to the creation of more effective literacy pedagogies and curricula, particularly in the area of IL.  1.3 Research questions  In light of the previous discussion, the following questions guided the study:                                                   4 In section 1.4.4 of this chapter I further operationalize the notions of activity and context for this study.  7   1. How do school contexts afford opportunities for children to engage in IL practices?  What factors constrain these school opportunities? 2. How do out-of-school contexts afford opportunities for children to engage in IL  practices?  What factors constrain these out-of-school opportunities? 3. How do children appropriate and recontextualize school and out-of-school IL  practices for their own purposes?    1.4   Theoretical framework  This study is framed by three interrelated theoretical perspectives: sociocultural (Vygotsky, 1978) or cultural-historical theory5 (Cole, 1996; Moll, 2000; Razfar & Gutiérrez, 2003);  social semiotic theory and multimodality  (Kress, 1997; 2003a; 2009); and dialogism (Bakhtin, 1986).  Viewed together, these theories work to form a comprehensive theory of learning, language, and literacy.    In the following sections, I outline the theoretical principles which underpin each perspective. Although the theoretical perspectives share equal importance, I begin with the sociocultural perspective as an overarching set of propositions that serve as the important foundation to this study.  Following the perspectives, I offer a discussion on the notion of “context” as viewed through the lens of activity theory.  I argue that context is a highly significant construct central to all perspectives and serves to connect them.  Finally, I discuss the proposed framework as a way of conceptualizing literacy in and out-of -school.   1.4.1   A sociocultural perspective  From a sociocultural perspective, human beings are actors who interact with their worlds primarily through meditational means, such as cultural artefacts or tools, and symbols, including language (Vygotsky, 1978).  From a Vygotskian frame, language is the pre-eminent tool for learning and human development.  Language mediates individuals‟ activities in the valued practices of their communities across a lifespan (Cole, 1996; Cole & Engestrom, 1993).  A sociocultural view of learning centers attention on cultural practices, or valued activities with particular features or routines, and is fundamental to understanding the nature of literacy (Razfar & Gutiérrez, 2003).  By focusing on the cultural activity of various communities, the nature of                                                  5 The terms „sociocultural,‟ „cultural-historical,‟ and „sociocultural-historical‟ (Larson & Marsh, 2005, p. 100) are often used interchangeably.  In this dissertation, I use the term „sociocultural‟ but recognize the distinction between the terms and the importance of inherent historicity.  8   learning and the participation in these valued practices is visible.  The role of other participants and the available cultural tools become key features of learning environments.  As such, literacy learning from a sociocultural perspective is a socially mediated process that cannot be understood apart from its context of development, the forms of mediation available, and the nature of participation across various cultural practices (Razfar & Gutiérrez, 2003).   As Barton (1994) notes:   … all our experience is mediated, nothing is direct.  Secondly, by the way they structure  reality for us in social interactions, people mediate our experience; and thirdly, texts,  whether they are books, films or advertisements, mediate our experience (p.68).  As such, a sociocultural perspective is contrasted with conceptions of literacy as the autonomous acquisition of a series of discrete skills (Street, 1984).  An instrumental view of culture in the sociocultural perspective is interwoven in all aspects of human development, and thus has implications for how children‟s literacy practices are studied and understood. Accordingly, the development of children‟s early literacy practices must be viewed and understood in relation to the context in which those practices are culturally, historically and ideologically situated.  This view allows us to understand  literacy events are linked to individuals‟ social histories and to larger sociohistorical practices and processes, and thus, are situated within broader social relations and historical contexts (Razfar & Gutiérrez, 2003) .   Vygotsky‟s work (1962; 1978) has transformed our understanding of learning in early childhood, and language and literacy learning in particular.  For Vygotsky, the use of signs, which includes oral language, writing systems and number systems is the transcendent tool that mediates human development.  Thus, development is predicated on the ability to use these signs in a culturally appropriate way as it is mediated by the cultural and historical context in which it is embedded (Razfar & Gutiérrez, 2003).  It is the more expert members of a particular practice that determine what is or is not appropriate participation (Rogoff, 1990). In other words, people learn to write by writing, and to read by reading, with the support of an expert or more proficient other, for a specific purpose or purposes.  Social relations mediate individual mental processes, and those social relations are mediated by speech, including inner speech.  Vygotsky (1978) argues  all thought occurs first in  9   social interaction on the interpsychological plane, and then gradually moves to the internal or intrapsychological plane as the child appropriates knowledge. As Wells (2000) points out, human development is not simply a matter of biological maturation; it is enriched and extended through an individual‟s appropriation and mastery of cultural inheritance as encountered in activity and interactions with others. Rogoff (2003) suggests  development results from the interaction of three planes: the individual child, social interaction, and the community context as social elders assist children in appropriating the knowledge practices of local communities. She argues people develop as participants in cultural communities. Their development can be understood only in light of the cultural practices and circumstances of their communities – which also change. Learning is embedded within sociocultural contexts.    This concept of learning as  interaction  relates to Gee‟s (1996) concept of D/discourse (to be discussed more thoroughly in following sections) by positioning language as a mediating tool in the construction of identity, social languages (Bakhtin, 1981) and community languages (Lee & Smagorinsky, 2000) that serve as resources used both deliberately and implicitly by students and teachers in the co-construction of literacy knowledge.   The capacity to learn is not finite and bounded. In any learning situation, there exists an ever-shifting range of possibilities determined by the background knowledge the novice has, the nature of the task to be learned, the activity structures in which learning takes place, and the interaction between the learner and those involved.  It is within the zone of proximal development (ZPD), Vygotsky argues, that learning takes place.  He describes the ZPD as “the distance between problem-solving abilities exhibited by a learner working alone and that learner‟s problem-solving abilities when assisted by or collaborating with more experienced people” (Lave & Wenger, 1991, p. 48). This conception of learning situates an individual within the concrete social context of learning and development and emphasizes the fact that the development of a child‟s individual mental processes is socially mediated. Vygotsky also argues   instruction is effective only when it proceeds ahead of development; when it awakens those processes which are in the process of maturing (Griffen & Cole, 1984).  Mediated by interaction with others, individuals learn through their participation in social, cultural and historical contexts. Therefore, children learn, both in formal and informal contexts by their participation in sociocultural activities. In becoming literate, children learn the meaning of written language in the context of relevant situations, both in and out-of-school (Larson & Marsh, 2005).  The focus is not on transferring literacy knowledge from those who  10   know more to those who know less but rather the co-construction of knowledge (Moll, 1990).  In this way, children are recognized and legitimized in the classroom and the community for their competence as literate individuals.     Literacy learning as a situated activity in communities of practice.   According to Wells (2000), society consists of overlapping activity systems with their associated “communities of practice.” Lave and Wenger (1991) define communities of practice  as “a set of relations among persons, activity, and world, over time and in relation with other tangential and overlapping communities of practice” (p. 98). These activity systems include the social practices of education, health care, the arts, households, etc., that include the norms, values, division of labour, and goals of the community (Gutierrez & Stone, 2000; Moll, 2000).  The values, identities, and knowledgeable skills of individuals are formed through participation in activities in which they are involved first with family members, then in school and the community, then activity systems of work, leisure and so on. From this perspective, who a person becomes depends on which activity systems he or she participates in and what support and assistance he or she receives from other members of that relevant community.  Lave and Wenger (1991) suggest, congruent with Vygotsky‟s theory,  that  learning is an integral aspect of participation in any community of practice  and not a separate and independent activity. As participants meet new situations with new demands, opportunities for learning and further development occur.  Newcomers to an activity are provided with models and assistance; old-timers learn from the new situation and from changing responsibilities in the community. Situated learning then, is more than the traditional notion of apprenticeship.  In Lave and Wenger‟s (1991) view, “learning is not merely situated in practice…learning is an integral part of generative social practice in the lived-in world” ( p. 35).  From this perspective all learning (and literacy learning in particular) is not simply the acquisition of isolated skills but involves the transformation of the participants as they engage in activities that have real meaning and purpose.  Further, any activity is situated in place and time and each activity is unique because it involves the coming together of particular individuals in a particular setting with particular artefacts, all which have their own histories, which in turn, affect the way in which the activity is actually played out (Wells, 2000).   In sum, when learning is viewed as socially situated, our understanding of learning is broadened to take into account  the social, cultural and historical contexts of an individual‟s existence (Larson & Marsh, 2005).  Literacy learning from a sociocultural view, then, is situated  11   in social, interactional, cultural, institutional and historical contexts, and provides the context for which teachers and students can construct authentic opportunities for learning (Putney, Green, Dixon, Duran, & Yeager, 2000).    The New Literacy Studies.  Within the sociocultural perspective, I draw on a body of work articulated in the New Literacies Studies (NLS) (Street, 1993) to understand the nature of literacy learning that not only occurs in formal or informal settings or in or out-of-school, but also the “in-between” literacy learning that occurs in daily interaction as tools for building and maintaining social relationships. The NLS serve to help us deeply understand literacy in everyday life.   The NLS offer a perspective that assumes literacy is a critical social practice constructed in everyday interactions across local contexts (Larson & Marsh, 2005).  Characterized by their focus on an understanding of literacies as multiple and situated and varying within time and space, the NLS point to the central role of power.  Noteworthy for their attention to literacy in out-of-school contexts, these studies build on the ethnographic tradition of documenting literacy in local communities (Hull & Schultz, 2002).  The NLS are situated within a group of movements that have taken a social turn from a focus on the study of individuals to an emphasis on social and cultural interaction (Gee, 2000a).  It is within the NLS that “literacy” is thought of as “Discourse” which Gee (1996) defines as “ways of behaving, interacting, valuing, thinking, believing, speaking, and often reading and writing that are accepted as instantiations of particular roles (or „types of people‟) by specific groups of people. . . [Discourses] are, thus, always and everywhere social and products of social histories” (p. viii, emphasis in the original).  Gee‟s framework draws our attention away from a solitary focus on learning and language use in school settings to position learning, literacy and identity construction more broadly in and out-of-schools and across the life span (Schultz & Hull, 2002).  While Gee has shown us that the term literacy can be limiting, Street (1993; 1995) argues that the conception of literacy practices can be limited and focused narrowly on schooling and pedagogy.    School-based concepts of literacy are often held as a standard definition of literate competence across contexts.  In other words, autonomous models of literacy assume text has meanings that are independent of its context of use. Further, autonomous definitions associated with school can repress students under the ideological and social control of dominant groups (Larson & Marsh, 2005).  When literacy is presented as a  12   context-neutral skill, it fulfills the political purposes of those in power to maintain dominance and to marginalize others.     Street (1984) defines literacy as an ideological practice that highlights the social, historical, cultural and political contexts of use.  As such, literacy must be studied as it is tied to social practices and ideologies, such as economic, political, and social conditions; social structures; and local beliefs systems both in school and out.  Street argues for literacy research that brings to the forefront the complexity of local, everyday, community literacy practices, or literacies outside of school settings.   By using Hymes‟ (1964) notion of an ethnography of communication (cf., Heath, 1983; Taylor & Dorsey-Gaines, 1988), ethnographic case studies, or case studies employing ethnographic techniques (this investigation being an example),  a richer understanding of literacy and language skills is conceived.  Literacy learning as a set of social practices.  Extending Street‟s (1984; 1995) framework, Barton and Hamilton (1998) view literacy as an activity that is located in the space between thought and text.  Literacy is inherently social, residing not only on paper, but located within the relationships and interactions between people.  It can be characterized as what a particular group of people do with literacy; the social activities, the meanings and thoughts behind the activities and the texts that are used in these activities. As Barton and Hamilton (2000) argue, literacies are situated.  Reading and writing are things that people do, either alone or with other people, but they are always situated within a social context and at a particular place and time.  Therefore, literacy can be viewed from the context of the home, the church, the school, or any social institution.  Barton and Hamilton (1998; 2000)  present a theory of literacy as social practice in the form of six propositions about the nature of literacy, as follows:  1.  Literacy is best understood as a set of social practices; these can be inferred from events which are mediated by written texts.  Literacy practices can best be conceived as the general cultural ways people utilize written language in their everyday lives.  These practices are not observable units of behaviour because, as Street  (1993) claims, they involve attitudes, feelings, values and social relationships.  Included in this definition of practices are people‟s awareness of literacy, as well as their constructions and talk about literacy.  Literacy practices exist within the relationships that we form with people and within groups and communities, rather than distinct properties that reside within individuals.  Literacy practices are also shaped by social rules and power which relate to who may have access to texts, who can produce them, and who can distribute them.   13    Barton and Hamilton (2000) also differentiate between literacy practices and literacy events.  Originally, Barton (1994) notes,  the term “literacy events” was derived from the sociolinguistic conception of speech events (Hymes, 1972).  Heath (1982) characterized a literacy event as “any occasion in which a piece of writing is integral to the nature of the participants‟  interactions and their interpretative processes” (p. 350).   Building on these notions, Barton and Hamilton (2000) propose that literacy events are observable episodes which arise from practices and are shaped by them. These episodes are usually activities where literacy has a role and a written text or texts are present, for example, cooking from a recipe, filling out an application form, or choosing a television program from a printed TV magazine.  Many literacy events are regular activities and routines that are found and expected in social institutions like schools, work places and leisure centers.  Literacy events are connected to the idea that literacy is situated in nature; that is, they always exist in a social context. As Lemke (1995) notes, it is parallel to ideas developed in sociolinguistics and to Bakhtin‟s assertion that “the starting point for the analysis of spoken language should be „the social event of verbal interaction‟ rather than the formal linguistic properties of texts in isolation (p.8-9).  Written texts are a critical part of literacy events; however, many literacy events are a mixture of written, spoken, and visual language.  Barton and Hamilton (2000) claim that in literacy events, people use written language in integrated ways as part of a range of semiotic systems including mathematical systems, musical notation, photographs, and visual media.  In examining the variation of literacy events, it becomes clear that literacy is not the same in all contexts.  2.  There are different literacies associated with different domains of life.  Barton and Hamilton (2000) say that within a culture, there are different literacies that are associated with different domains or particular spaces (Pahl & Rowsell, 2005) of life.  Domains are structured, patterned contexts in which literacy is used and learned; within them there are particular patterns of literacy practices and there are particular and expected ways in which people act in literacy events.  The activities that occur within these domains are not random or accidental. Literacy practices from one domain (e.g., school) may often cross to another domain (e.g., home).  3.  Literacy practices are patterned by social institutions and power relationships, and some literacies are more dominant, visible and influential than others.  Different domains support different literacy practices.  For example, in the socially powerful institution of  14   the school, dominant literacy practices that reflect middle-class values and attitudes are supported, reinforced, and promoted particularly in terms of what should be happening in other domains (e.g., homes).  4.  Literacy practices are purposeful and embedded in broader social goals and cultural practices.  Specifically, literacy is used as a means to some other end.  For example,  in the activity of reading a recipe in order to prepare a meal for a family, literacy serves a purpose in order to fulfill the social goal of caring for and meeting the needs of a family.  Further, while texts are often assigned a purpose, they can serve multiple purposes as people appropriate them for their own ends in the context of its social meaning.  For example, a family set of encyclopedias may be used by a child to find information for a school project or used by her mother to resolve arguments with friends, or used as a decoration to signify that the family is literate.  Literacy has multiple purposes in any given activity, and therefore has multiple social meanings.  5.  Literacy is historically situated.  Rogoff (1990) argues that culture is not fixed or unchanging, but is formed as the outcome of people working together. Literacy practices, which are culturally constructed, are also fluid; they are transformed and modified as the lives and societies of which they are a part change. Since literacy is historically situated, we must look to the past to understand contemporary literacy practices.   6.  Literacy practices change and new ones are frequently acquired through processes of informal learning and sense-making.  A person‟s practices can also be shaped by his or her own literacy history.  Literacy changes people and over the course of their lives, they will experience changes in their literacy practices.  In the process of constructing meaning and sense-making in particular social contexts, people learn new literacies, which in turn will guide their actions.    Home-family-community connections.   An ecological model of child development considers the child not in isolation but in context of family, classroom, and community, and the connections among these contexts. Bronfenbrenner  (1979; 1989) proposed an ecological model whereby children‟s development is shaped by a set of nested environments in which they live their lives. The microsystem affects children the most directly. Microsystems include the family and local community consisting of the cultural, linguistic, ethnic, and religious groups with which the family identifies, as well as preschool, childcare or kindergarten settings.  Microsystems are nested within a mesosystem, which includes settings outside the immediate  15   family context, such as schools. Beyond this are the exosystems that impact children but do not directly involve them, such as parents‟ workplaces, and finally, the macrosystem, larger social and political contexts within which the other systems are embedded (Goldstein, 2008).  The home is a domain that provides a structured, patterned context in which literacy is used and learned.  Within this domain there are particular patterns of literacy practices.  Scholars who view literacy with a sociocultural lens suggest that young children learn about literacy practices in the home and also the ways in which reading and writing can accomplish certain social goals (Heath, 1983; Purcell-Gates, 1995; Purcell-Gates, Jacobson, & Degener, 2004).    Barton (1996) makes a useful distinction between the terms household and home in his study of family literacy in Lancaster, England.  He states that households are groups of people living together in a shared space and usually eat together in a home.  Households may include parents, children, caregivers, and extended family members such as grandparents and siblings.  Families can also be biological and social, spanning generations, bringing together people who want to spend their lives together. Definitions of families, Taylor (1997) asserts, need to include the men, women and children who are separated from their families due to political, social, or economic reasons. As is pertinent in this study, a broad definition of families is necessary for examining how children acquire literacy in the context of the home.    From the very beginning of life, children are socialized into the cultural practices of families and the members with whom they share their lives.  As in other cultural practices, children are socialized into particular language practices through language itself. Language socialization is a process whereby novices gain knowledge and skills relevant and appropriate to a social group (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Ochs, 1988; 1991).  In the home, family members communicate with their children and conjointly construct meaning in a shared world.  From this perspective, language plays a critical role in the construction of social languages (Bakhtin, 1981) and/or discourses and identities (Gee, 1996; Razfar & Gutiérrez, 2003).  As Barton (1996) has shown, there are many literacies present within this space, tied in with daily activities, which extend beyond traditional book reading. Recent ethnographic and case study research has illustrated the rich and varied ways that individuals, families, and communities practice and value literacy (cf., Anderson, J., Kendrick, Rogers, & Smythe, 2005; Heath, 1983; Lenters, 2007; McTavish, 2007; Purcell-Gates, 1995).  This research has demonstrated that these families have access to “funds of knowledge” (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992) that  16   underlie productive, everyday life.  These literacies are integrated into practices that include: establishing or maintaining relationships, displaying or accessing information, self-expression and/or for pleasure; and skill development (Cairney, 2003).  While literacy is occasioned by many activities, it is often not itself the main objective.  Literacy is used to get other things done. Children are exposed to and participate in this range of practices.   In the home, literacy is distributed according to relationships and identities.  Parents mediate literacy experiences across and within the family so that even siblings in the same family may have different experiences (Taylor, 1983). Barton (1996) asserts that there are many home literacy practices that are patterned through gender.  For example, in his study examining literacies outside schools and of families and neighbourhoods, Barton found women‟s literacy lives were complex and not defined solely in terms of their relationships with their children‟s education.  Family literacy practices are effectively under the strong influence of school literacy practices once a child enters school (Cairney & Ruge, 1998; Taylor, 1983).  Particular types and uses of literacy that are associated with schooling become more prominent.  Time is spent engaged in activities such as homework and “playing school” (Gregory, 2001; Mui & Anderson, 2008).   Cairney and Ruge also suggest that from birth, some children are strongly shaped by the parents‟ experience with school literacy as well as the desire to prepare the preschool child for later schooling.   The community can no longer be defined in terms of its geographical boundaries, its ethnic associations or the languages spoken within.  Most certainly, the literacy development of children in multilingual societies and learning contexts often cross the traditionally-fixed boundaries of culture, ethnicity, and language. Baquedano-Lopez (2003) argues that the concept of community has to take on a more dynamic meaning by attending to the practices of members and activities as units of analysis; that is, the “communities of practice.” To be sure, the seminal work of Heath (1983), Street (1984) and Scribner and Cole (1981) have contributed to the knowledge we have about the literacy practices of adults in their homes and communities. Crow and Allan (1994) view community as the realm of local social relations that mediates between the private sphere of family and household and the public sphere of impersonal, formal organizations.   Extensions of the New Literacy Studies.  The New London Group has extended the notion of the NLS by developing a way of talking about the social context of literacy learning  17   and the forms of literacy pedagogy.  The Group‟s  work has focused on the concept of multiliteracies (Cope & Kalantzis, 2000),  the notion that there are multiple communication channels, hybrid text forms, new social relations, and an increased significance of linguistic and cultural diversity (Schultz & Hull, 2002).  Further, as the New London Group (1996) explains, “multiliteracies also creates a different kind of pedagogy, one in which language and other modes of meaning are dynamic representational resources, constantly being remade by their users as they work to achieve various cultural purposes” (p.64).  A further extension of the NLS by Gee, Hull and Lankshear (1996) has taken into account the concept of sociotechnical practices. These researchers seek to understand how learning and knowledge are construed in a world where the new capitalism is positioned to define what counts as learning and knowledge in a “knowledge economy” (p. 23).  The authors look at how new identities are shaped,  arguing that we need to understand how knowledge resides in a family, an organization, a social practice, a particular technology, or a culture rather than focusing on what knowledge resides in an individual‟s head.  They further argue that the focus of learning and education should not be on children nor schools, but human lives seen as trajectories through multiple social practices in various social institutions.  “If learning is to be efficacious,” they argue, “then what a child or adult does now as a learner must be connected in meaningful and motivating ways with „mature‟ (insider) versions of related social practices” (p.4, emphasis in the original).  Researchers Deborah Brandt and Katie Clinton (2002) have argued that detailed ethnographic studies, which demonstrate the role of identity and context in language development, need to be located within a larger, global framework. One of their most interesting observations is that literacy practices depend on technologies which can be transformed locally but are nonetheless tied to global communication systems.  They suggest that social practice theory is too human-centered; as such, they call for forms of ethnographic inquiry that includes attention to the role that non-human actors (e.g., the computer and Internet) play in meaning-making. With the enormous changes in communication that have marked the past 20 years, the authors argue that the concept of multimodality enriches the NLS.  In sum, the NLS serves to provide a language and a perspective for examining and describing the connections between literacy practices and identities.  Also noteworthy is the NLS‟ ability to help focus attention on and embrace out-of-school contexts such as home, community and work and value the literacy practices found within.  In this way, the NLS assist  18   us in the examination of the kind of literacy we teach in school and in what we count as literacy practices.   1.4.2 Social semiotic theory and multimodality  To account for the changes in communicative practices, I turn to social semiotic theory and multimodality to understand new ways of reading, writing and making meaning.  Expanding on Saussure‟s theory of sign processes, and signification and communication, social semiotic theory attempts to explain and understand how signs are used to “produce and communicate meanings in specific social settings be they „micro‟ settings such as the family or settings in which the sign making is well institutionalized and hemmed in by habits, conventions and rules” (Kress & van  Leeuwen, 1996, p. 264).  Social semiotic theory implies that meanings and semiotic systems are shaped by relations of power, and that as power shifts in society, our languages and other systems of socially accepted meanings can and do change.  Social semiotics focuses on all types of social meaning-making practices, including those that are visual, verbal or aural in nature (Thibault, 1991). These different systems or channels for meaning-making (e.g. speech, writing, images) are known as semiotic modes. Modes can include visual, verbal, written, gestural, musical, and auditory resources for communication. An assemblage of any of these modes is referred to as multimodal (Kress and van Leeuwen, 2001).   Multimodality asserts that societies use many means of making meaning beyond those of speech and writing. Kress (2009) states, however, that multimodality is not a theory, but rather, describes the field in which meaning is made.  Multimodality, Kress contends, when viewed from the perspective of social semiotic theory, enables an account of communication, of meaning, and of learning.  Learning is the result of a semiotic/conceptual/meaning-making interaction with an aspect of the world.  In this interaction, the learner‟s semiotic/conceptual resources for making meaning (and acting in the world) are changed and enhanced.  Learning happens in specific environments; those environments “make available specific semiotic/conceptual resources in particular configurations” (Kress, 2009, p.20). The features of these environments and the shape of the configurations affect the possibilities of learning.  From this perspective, children are sign makers who use resources available to them in their sociocultural environments (Kendrick, McKay, & Moffat, 2005).  The signs that children use to produce and convey meaning reflect the here and now of their environment as well as the  19   resources they draw from their environment (Kress, 1997). The meanings they attribute to the signs are not arbitrary, but reflect what is imminent for them at the moment of text production, the here and now of the social context (Kress & Jewitt, 2003). The sign-maker is “constantly transformative of the set of resources of the group and of her/himself” (Kress, 2001, p. 401).  Multimodality and technology.  Kress (2003a) states,     It is no longer possible to think about literacy in isolation from a vast array of social,  technological and economic factors.  Two distinct yet related factors deserve to be  particularly highlighted.  These are, on the one hand, the broad move from the now  centuries-long dominance of writing to the new dominance of the image and, on the  other hand, the move from the dominance of the medium of the book to the dominance  of the medium of the screen.  These two together are producing a revolution in the uses  and effects of literacy and of associated means for representing and communicating at  every level and every domain (p.1).  New information and communication technologies have irrevocably changed the nature and use of literacy in the past decade.  This digital turn has challenged us to rethink the very nature of literacy practices and how they are situated in local and global spaces.  Researchers such as Cope and Kalantzis (2000) have responded to the changes by pluralizing the term “literacy‟ (e.g., multiliteracies) to account for the multiple ways of meaning making, while others have wedded the term “literacy” (e.g., media literacy, digital literacy, visual literacy) to convey competence in a range of areas.  Although these phrases have been widely accepted , Kress (2003a) suggests that „literacy‟ “is the term to use when we make messages using letters as the means of recording that message” (p. 23) and that the other uses of the word have conflated the representation of resources, the production of the message, and the resources for dissemination. Jewitt (2006)  agrees with Kress, stating that pluralizing the concept of literacy dilutes its meaning beyond usefulness  and “merely accommodates the new within the domain of the old” (p.134).  As such, Kress calls for a theoretical shift from linguistics (language alone) to semiotics (gesture, speech, image, writing, 3D objects, colour, music, etc.) to take into account the many modes available for representation. This theory shifts thinking about literacy as a matter of „competence‟ to thinking about literacy as multimodal design (Jewitt, 2006; Kress,  20   2003a; Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001; New London Group, 1996).  These authors argue that literacy in the context of technology-mediated learning is multimodal.  While Larson and Marsh (2005) acknowledge Kress and others, they claim that the use of the term “literacy” to refer to competence in various aspects of new technologies is so widespread that it would be difficult to curtail it.  They further argue that the terms „digital literacy,‟ „new literacies,‟ and „media literacy‟ “all have currency and appear to  address similar issues, namely, the ability to decode, encode and make meaning using a range of modes of communication including print, still moving image, sound and gesture, all mediated by new technologies” (p.69).  To address these divergent viewpoints, Marsh (2003) has developed one model which takes into consideration Kress‟s idea of literacy as lettered representation but also acknowledges the way in which current practices involve much more than a focus on printed text.    Marsh uses the term “communication” to encompass a range of meaning making processes, including literacy.  The distinction is made between communicative practices and events, which include the oral (spoken word or sound), the visual (symbols and images), literacy (written word or sign) and the corporeal (gesture/physical movement). In this model, oral, literacy, visual and corporeal events are seen as communicative events, and from these communicative events we draw communicative practices. Marsh‟s model offers one way of analyzing the interaction between literacy and other communicative modes.  She also calls for a re-examination of traditional notions of literacy, given the range and nature of children‟s and young people‟s communicative practices outside of school6.  From a multimodal viewpoint, there is also a need to redefine the way we see and interact with texts.  New technologies make available a whole range of multimodal possibilities for individuals‟ production of documents. It also allows a new kind of „reading‟ of texts. Kress (2003a) views communication, whatever the mode, as text.  In his view, text is seen as the result of social action, and the expression of social action gives one kind of shape to text, namely that of genre.  Within the text, there is always the matter of, in Kress‟s words, „what is at issue‟                                                  6   It is important to note here that this investigation acknowledges the views of both Marsh and Kress.  As such, the focus of this study centers on the concept of IL as defined earlier in the chapter and restated here:  the ability to locate, “read,” and manage information within a range of printed, electronic, visual and multimodal texts and ICT networks; to critically evaluate information, and to communicate information clearly via spoken and written language while mediating social networks and relationships.  For purposes of this dissertation, I view literacy where forms of language do not stand in opposition to each other, but exist along a continuum.      21   (p.47).  Using Gee‟s (1996) notion of Discourses, texts are seen as carrying different Discourses, those ways of speaking, behaving and acting in culturally specific ways and are made up of visuals, sound, movement, and gesture.  According to  Pahl and Rowsell (2005), texts can be seen as artefacts that link back to people and places. When texts are seen as artefacts, that is, as objects with a history and material presence, they are exposed as traces of social practice.   When texts are created, they are created in terms of the intended practices and interests of the producer.  Texts are motivated signs (Kress, 1997) that bespeak identity and relate to processes of synaethesia (creativity and creative expression).  Modal resources provide users of the resource with the ability to reshape the resources in relation to the needs of the sign-maker.  Young children typically draw on different modes when making meaning and choose the most appropriate mode for their meaning-making activities (Jewitt & Kress, 2003)   Our understanding of texts, also guides the way we read and produce future texts.  How we choose to make texts signifies our own interpretations.  The “stuff” (the materiality, such as words, actions and gestures) we use to make texts is shaped by our identities (Kress, 1997).  Therefore, when we create texts, meaning-as-form and form-as-meaning, stand on equal footing.  Often the issue of materiality is located in the affordances of the materials we use (Pahl & Rowsell, 2005).  Some materials afford a text greater power and attention than others.  For example, understanding and applying the principles of academic writing affords opportunities to succeed in school.  To this end, questions of assessment of multimodal choice remain persistent in a multimodal world.  Learners will need to develop skills in relation to the design, production, and analysis of multimodal texts (Kress, 2003a; Lankshear & Knobel, 2004).  The facilities of new technologies require the re-evaluation of the notion of the reading path (Jewitt, 2006; Jewitt & Kress, 2003).  The design of the mode offers students entries into texts at different points, allowing alternate reading paths and the potential re-making the text simply by their reading of it. We are socialized into ways or practices of using these texts.  In sum, the practices of students with new technologies require a broader reconceptualization of literacy as multimodal design.  This is of particular concern (as will be demonstrated in this investigation) where literacy is conceptualized in its most restricted sense, as a matter of competencies in reading and writing.  1.4.3 Dialogism          This study is also informed by the theoretical perspective of dialogism, an epistemology that seeks to understand human behaviour through the use humans make of language (Holquist,  22   2002).    Central to this theory is Bakhtin‟s concept of dialogue.  The perspective of dialogism shows us that if we think of language as dialogic, then we can see that as we live among the many languages of social practices, dialogism is necessarily the way in which we construct meaning.  The language we use in personal or textual discourse is itself composed of many languages which have all been used before, and will be used in the future.   In this way, we see Bakhtin‟s notion of intertextuality, the shaping of texts‟ meaning by other texts. At any moment, our discourse will be informed by the contemporary languages we live among and informed by their historical roles and the future roles we anticipate for them (Vice, 1997). Further, the notion of dialogism asserts that all productive language assumes a listener or reader, even when we speak or write to ourselves.   When language is conceived as dialogue, utterance is the topic of analysis.  The Bakhtinian utterance “is dialogic in the degree to which every aspect of it is a give-and-take between the local need of a particular speaker to communicate a specific meaning, and the global requirements of language as a generalizing system” (Holquist, 2002, p. 60).  An utterance is constrained by the fact that it is never “in itself originary” (p. 60, emphasis in the original) but is always an answer.  Further, utterances are restrained by the procedures and the context which make the utterance meaningful.  In this sense, communication can only be situated in the social sphere as the rules that determine precedence develop out of group practices.  The norms controlling the communication exist only in the individual minds of particular people in particular groups, whose values of their particular community are shared.   In other words, learners develop their understandings both implicit and explicit through experience by using that language in interactions with others within specific cultural contexts.  Language and language use vary broadly by context and also within contexts. It is within these contexts or “spheres of communication” (Bakhtin, 1986, p.60) that language has its own relatively stable patterns or repertoires of utterances. Bakhtin refers to these as specific speech genres. According to Bakhtin, speech genres:     … reflect the specific conditions and goals of each such area not only through their  content (thematic) and linguistic style, that is, the selection of the lexical, phraseological,  and grammatical resources of the language, but above all through their compositional  structure.  All three of these aspects - thematic content, style, and compositional  23    structure - are inseparably linked to the whole of the utterance and are equally  determined by the specific nature of the particular sphere of communication (p. 60).  Bakhtin further notes that the diversity and heterogeneity of oral and written speech genres are boundless because of the various possibilities of the spheres of human activity.  Each sphere of activity contains an entire repertoire of speech genres that differentiate and grow as the particular sphere develops and becomes more complex.  In any community of practice, there will be a complex array of speech genres that will be constructed within instances of situated dialogue. Speech genres, therefore, include daily interactions and dialogue (greetings, conversations, meetings, letters, church services, email, etc.), writing, business documents, commentary, and the like.  Thus, Bakhtin‟s perspective helps us to see genres as situated, social actions. As Chapman (1999) explains, genres are:   …situated  in that they arise out of and are embedded in particular contexts and spheres  of activity;  social, in that they are learned through and used in interactions with other;  active, in that they are dynamic, flexible, purposeful, and useful and are learned through  engagement – by doing (p. 471).    In this study, IL is situated when it is an integral and purposeful part of the various spheres of activity in the school and out-of-school contexts.  These spheres of activity are seen as sets of cultural practices or ways of communicating, and are usually associated with routines.  For example, in the home context, spheres of activity may include the routines of bedtime, TV watching, playing video games, or doing homework.  In the classroom context, spheres of activity include the morning gathering, sustained silent reading, guided reading, or writers‟ workshop.  It is these spheres of activity to which specific genres are tied.  Based on the perception that genres are context-embedded, localized, and tied to specific time and space, Bakhtin (1986) makes a distinction between primary and secondary genres. Primary genres are used in everyday speech communication, can be learned without formal instruction, and come into being before they are specified into institutional forms (Holquist, 2002). Secondary genres are highly developed such as specialized academic or sociopolitical activities that are legislated by unitary institutional or professional usage.  24     As previously mentioned,  Gee (1996) also makes a distinction between primary and secondary d/Discourses that are learned through apprenticeship in social groups and institutions. Related to the Bakhtinian notion of speech genres, discourses involve far more than talk or language alone. Gee distinguishes between discourse as language-in-use with Discourse by suggesting that:   Discourses  are ways of being in the world, or forms of life which integrate   words, acts, values, beliefs, attitudes, and social identities, as well as gestures,   glances, body  positions, and clothes. A Discourse is a sort of identity kit which   comes complete with  the appropriate costume and instructions on how to act,   talk, and often write, so as to take on a particular social role that others will   recognize (p.127).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Learning primary genres or discourses is a developmental task for young learners acquiring literacy. As they begin formal schooling, children then acquire knowledge of secondary genres through school-based activities. Since current understandings of literacy development emphasize building on children‟s out-of-school literacy practices and experiences, the validity of school literacies that are separate from students‟ personal experiences with real world literacies is questionable.  1.4.4 Situating “context” in the theoretical framework  The theoretical perspectives previously discussed share common roots in that they conceptualize literacy not just in terms of skills and competencies, but as an integral part of social events and practices which are shaped by culture and history.  Within each perspective, there are underlying notions about context and intertextuality, and the role of language.  Taken together these perspectives offer a framework that links individual people‟s everyday experiences with the more global social institutions and structures. The framework also assists in exploring issues of power by examining the relationship between micro- and macro-level contexts.  Using this framework allows the researcher to construct, through analyses, how participants make meaning of literacy for themselves within particular social contexts.  This framework attempts to move away from conceptualizations of texts, contexts, individuals and communities as stable units, toward notions of text-mediated practices, the connections between  25   different contexts in producing meaning, and the shifting of individual and community identity across different activities and contexts (Maybin, 2000).  At the same time, this framework must accommodate how individual activities are shaped and given meaning by the social, cultural, and historical contexts within which they occur, and in turn must be constituted within larger social and institutional structures.  This framework suggests a dialogical view of contexts, a view that moves between the micro and macro, and the local and the global.  To further conceptualize the notion of context for this study, I draw on activity theory (cf. Leont'ev, 1978; Wertsch, 1981) and in particular, Engestrom‟s (1996) notion of context.    The earliest structural versions of contexts were conceived as containers, devoid of human action and culture.  Later analyses focused on dyadic interactions which resulted in the view of context as interpersonal constructions, but based solely on situational and experiential factors without acknowledgment of the “deep-seated material practices and socioeconomic structures of the given culture” (Engestrom, 1996, p. 66).  However, these definitions of context lack what the other has, as Engestrom notes, “one has system without individual experience, the other experience without system” (p.66).  In activity theory,  Engestrom (1996) states, “[c]ontexts are activity systems.  An activity system integrates the subject, the object, and the instruments (material tools as well as signs and symbols) into a unified whole” (p. 67).  In other words, context is not just “out there,” it is constituted by people both internally (involving specific objects and goals) and externally (involving artefacts, other people and specific settings) (Nardi, 1996) and are dependent on each other. In this way, Engestrom demonstrates that meaning is mutually constituted between persons and activity systems (Kell, 2006).   In this study, activity theory can assist and facilitate analyses of literacy learning by tracing the communicative interactions among the focal children, the teacher, and the parents of the focal children in the overlapping activity systems of which they are a part, and the material tools (e.g., texts) without separating the people and tools from the collective, on-going action over time.  In this way, literacy events can be drawn from practices, and delimit the nature of who and what defines context.  Further, in defining contexts as activity systems, we can look at how meanings can travel across activity systems and re-embed themselves. In this view, the concept of  “recontextualization” (Iedema, 2003) is useful in studying meaning making processes as they travel across social groups, time and spaces (Kell, 2006).  In other words,  26   literacy itself cannot travel but when used as a mode of representation in a particular medium it can enable meanings to traverse contexts and switch modes.  1.5 Unifying the theoretical perspectives  Together, the theoretical perspectives work together to provide a comprehensive framework for analysis of this multiple-case study.  As illustrated in Figure 1.1, each perspective brings theoretical structure to the framework and strength is built through their interconnectedness. Figure 1.1:   A comprehensive framework for analysis of the study   Dialogism provides a lens to see the ways children and adults construct meaning as we all live among the many languages of social practices. Social semiotics enable us to see how literacies are used and interpreted and for what purposes. Finally, sociocultural theories of learning complement social semiotics and dialogism by offering notions of tool use (i.e., technology, mediation and appropriation) and a meaningful understanding of how learning happens in and out-of-school.  If we view learning as changing participation in a culturally valued activity that is mediated by interaction and cultural tools from the local to the global activity systems, children can be prepared for participation in a global, knowledge and communication economy.  These theoretical perspectives do not operate in a vacuum, and there are many features of the perspectives which indeed overlap.  It is important to note, however, that all of the perspectives emphasize sociocultural contexts and all position the learner as an active Sociocultural theoryDialogismSocial SemioticsContext  27   participant in the construction of meaning.  It is the affordance of each perspective, contributing equally to the framework, on which this multiple-case study rests.  1.6   Significance of the study   As schools prepare students to deal effectively with the demands of IL in these new times, the need for a deeper examination of the affordances of the school and out-of-school contexts in providing children opportunity to engage in IL practices is of critical importance.  Because the early school years provide the foundation for success in school, indeed, for life-long learning, it is imperative that we establish a knowledge base to guide practice in IL in the primary grades.  This study makes an important contribution to that base.   An investigation of the affordances of the school and out-of-school contexts in providing opportunities for children to engage in IL practices will assist in broadening the understanding of the relationship between children‟s social and cultural practices in school and out-of-school spaces. This study allows us to see how children draw on social and cultural resources from these contexts to develop as IL learners.   While children are often deemed “at-risk” (i.e., having intellectual, cognitive or linguistic deficits) because they live in areas of lower economic value, it does not necessarily mean that the opportunities to engage in IL practices are not as extensive or varied as those of mainstream children. A deeper and more informed understanding of school and out-of-school contexts will illuminate how children not only make use of their available resources and practices across contexts but how they appropriate and recontextualize these resources and practices for their own purposes, in spaces they feel are safe to do so.  These findings can make an important contribution in terms of troubling the assumptions educators may have regarding families living in these urban areas, particularly about the way the children “take-up” school practices.  This research study has the potential to provide useful insights to teachers who hold dominant middle-class notions of parenting and early literacy experiences.  This study may allow teachers and administrators to appreciate the cultural capital of students despite their students‟ socioeconomic situations and their unfamiliarity with these experiences.  In a related issue, this study may also make an important contribution in terms of troubling the valued literacy practices found in school.  Because children‟s literacy practices out-of-school often do not match those of school, these practices may be seen as unworthy in  28   terms of “proper” literacy development.  As a result, children may be unsuccessful with school literacy practices and their performance in school may not truly reflect their abilities and potentials. Unfortunately, this underachievement may be blamed on parents or caregivers who are considered to be not living up to the school‟s expectations to help their children promote or assimilate the mainstream school discourse. A better understanding of children‟s IL practices in the home may help to eliminate these deficit notions of families.  The findings of this study could also benefit the family members and care givers of the children and what role they play in the affordances they provide for opportunities for their children to engage in IL practices. Family members and care givers may realize and appreciate their role and the environment they provide in terms of a broader notion of literacy or the practices they promote and the support they provide in relation to children‟s literacy development.  The recognition of their value as key facilitators may help to strengthen their positions as advocates for their children and serve to bring about more frequent and effective communication with teachers, administrators and schools.   1.7 Summary of the chapter   This introductory chapter presented an overview of the background to the study and included the definition of information literacy as used in this dissertation.  This definition was followed by a discussion of the study‟s rationale and a description of the pilot study, foregrounding the purpose of, and justification for, the investigation of the present study. The research questions guiding the study were then presented. Following the research questions, the theoretical framework in which the research is grounded was discussed.  The chapter ended with the significance of the study and its possible theoretical and practical contributions to young children‟s information literacy learning.  1.8  Organization of the dissertation   This dissertation reports how school and out-of-school contexts afford opportunities for engagement in IL practices of four Grade 2 children living in a lower socioeconomic area of an urban city in western Canada.  Eight chapters follow this introductory chapter.   Chapter Two focuses on a review of literature and previous empirical research findings. In particular, I focus on four relevant research areas.  First, I look at the field of IL, and in particular, the use of informational text with young children.  Next, I examine the literature connected with family  29   literacy, literacy and technology, and out-of-school literacy, in view of how they relate to the present study.  In Chapter Three, the qualitative case study methodology selected for the design of this research study is outlined, and a discussion of data collection and data analysis procedures is presented.  The findings and related discussion are presented in the next five chapters (Chapters Four through Eight) in response to the three research questions guiding the investigation. In Chapter Nine, the final chapter, I present the conclusions to the study and the theoretical implications of the work and its limitations.  The final chapter also includes a discussion of the implications for curriculum writers, educators, administrators, and parents, and provides direction for future research.                30   CHAPTER TWO:  REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE  2.0 Introduction In this chapter, I present a review of the empirical research findings of four research strands related to the present study:  IL research (including young children‟s use of informational text), family literacy research (including research on culturally, linguistically and economically diverse home literacy environments; family roles; and the availability, uses, and types of texts), young children‟s literacy and technology research (including multimodality and the representation of meaning), and out-of-school literacy research.  In doing so, my intent is to (a) situate the present study in the existing literature, (b) link the findings of the present study discussed in subsequent chapters to the review of the literature and, (c) enrich existing research trajectories in order to map new directions for future research.  2.1 Information literacy research  At the forefront of the review of research on IL lies the difficulty associated with its definitions. As I discussed in Chapter One, the concept and concise definition of IL is blurred and is not widely used in the field of early childhood literacy. Therefore, I present a very brief history of the concept of “information literacy” here in order to foreground the review of research in this area.  Originally, the development of IL grew from the field of Library and Information Sciences when in 1974, Paul Zurkowski, president of the Information Industry Association, introduced the concept in a proposal to the National Commission on Library and Information Science (NCLIS) to recommend the establishment of a national program to achieve universal IL (Spitzer, Eisenberg, & Lowe, 1998).  Recognizing the need to develop techniques and tools for people to utilize information for effective problem-solving and decision-making, politicians began to promote IL as a guarantee for the survival of a democratic society. Coupled with the dramatic increase of information available and the development of digital technologies as tools for information retrieval and manipulation, the call for developing requisite skills for an information literate person was made. As a result, the following was adopted:  “To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have  31   the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information” (American Library Association, 1989, p. 1).  Since its adoption, this definition of an information literate person has formed the basis of subsequent definitions of IL, as is the case in the expanded definition I provided in Chapter One.  Over time, definitions of IL have included the introduction of a critical perspective as well as the inclusion of a number of other formats for presenting information including printed words, photographs, illustrations and drawings, charts, tables, and graphs, sound recordings, computer graphics, multimedia, and animation.   It was not until after the publication of A Nation at Risk, (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) that the call for the integration of IL across K-12 curricula took hold. Library media programs became the starting platform to address educational IL outcomes and since this time, IL has been firmly ensconced in the field of library science. In due course, library media specialists took a central role in the implementation of IL in educational institutions. Over the last decade and a half, however, the library media specialist‟s role has included collaboration with classroom teachers in order to facilitate deeper integration of IL and promote a shift from textbook usage to the incorporation of multiple sources of information.  As a result, much of the research in the IL area has been associated with secondary and post-secondary students.  2.1.1 Research on using informational texts with young children  For some time, reading professionals have advocated using informational texts with older students (Moss & Hendershot, 2002), but the call for using informational texts in the younger grades is relatively new. Prior to the 1970s, it was believed that young children comprehended narrative text more easily and therefore should not be exposed to informational text until the middle grades and above (Egan, 1988; Reese & Harris, 1997).  However, the primacy of narrative was soon called into question by scholars whose research suggested that post-primary school students‟ poor performance with non-narrative, expository texts may be in part, the result of their lack of experience with these types of texts in the crucial early years of schooling (Applebee, Langer, Mullis, Latham, & Gentile, 1994; Hiebert & Fisher, 1990; Littlefair, 1991; Pappas, 1991). This lack of experience has contributed to the creation of what some researchers call the “expository gap”  (Gee, 2001) and the “fourth grade slump” in overall literacy achievement (Chall, Jacobs, & Baldwin, 1990).  Researchers have seriously challenged the notion that narrative should play a dominant role in early literacy programs.  For example, Pappas (1991; 1993) and Duke and Kays (1998)   32   found that children as young as kindergarten age are just as capable of using the distinctive discourse features of information books as story books.  Similarly, Hiebert (1991) and Sanacore (1991) argued for both stories and information books beginning in the first year of schooling.  Caswell and Duke‟s (1998) research revealed that non-narrative texts provided students with a rich array of benefits beyond simply preparing them for future encounters with non-narrative texts.  They believe that non-narrative texts serve as a “way in” to literacy, serving as an important catalyst for overall literacy development.  Thus, the research suggests that the inclusion of informational texts in early childhood classrooms may not only help in mitigating the substantial difficulty many students have with informational texts but also provide them a pathway into literacy.    Another area of research has shown that for some children, informational text is the preferred reading material.  For example, Chapman, Filipenko, McTavish and Shapiro (2007)  recorded responses from 40 children in four schools on two book preference tasks and found that children have preferences for reading not only narrative text but for informational text as well.  Similar findings were reported by Mohr (2003) in a study comparing the book preferences of first-graders. Mohr found that 84% of the children in the study chose informational text when given a choice between many different genres of children‟s picture books. In another study, Hynes (2000) portrayed a student who described himself as a nonreader because he preferred to read for facts rather than for stories. Additionally, Caswell and Duke (1998) profiled two struggling readers and writers who progressed substantively when their teacher discovered that they were more successful when using informational texts.   The preference for and inclusion of informational texts may also improve attitudes towards and motivation for reading (Dreher, 2003). This is particularly important as children‟s attitudes toward reading and writing seem to become more negative as they progress through the elementary school grades (Manning, 2005; McKenna & Kear, 1995).  Thus, these studies serve to solidify the notion that young children can cope with informational text, are motivated to read it, and for some children, it is their preferred reading choice.  Although the call for greater attention to informational texts in the early grades has been made, several studies have shown that young children‟s exposure to informational texts may be limited. Nell Duke‟s (2000a)  often cited study reported that first-grade children read or wrote informational text an average  of 3.6 minutes per day, and only 1.4 minutes in classrooms serving  lower socioeconomic populations.  Information books were a scarce commodity in the  33   study‟s first-grade class libraries and instruction related to informational text was virtually absent.  In an informal study, Yopp and Yopp (2000), found that only 14% of the materials the 126 primary-grade teachers surveyed reported using for read-aloud were informational in nature, suggesting children are further limited in their access to informational text.  Analyses of basal readers have also revealed that informational text is underrepresented in primary-level selections. For example, Walsh‟s (2003) examination of basal reading series revealed that the basal readers missed opportunities to build word and world knowledge by offering loosely connected stories around “mostly incoherent, banal themes” (p. 24). In a most recent study, Moss (2008) examined the two basal reading series adopted in California schools under the Reading First legislation to compare the text genres represented. Although 40% of pages/selections in both series were devoted to nonfiction text, 50% of these nonfiction texts selections were expository and 33% were literary nonfiction. She found that neither series met the criteria for the inclusion of 50% informational text at grade levels one through six as required by the 2009 National Assessment for Educational Progress in Reading (NAEP), and both series limited informational text mainly to exposition.   Since the turn of the millennium, teachers and children have had greater access to a variety of  recently published, higher quality information trade books (Casbergue & Plauché, 2003) and teachers have been encouraged to use information books as part of their regular reading instruction  (Dreher, 2003; Duke, 2004; Reutzel, Smith, & Fawson, 2005).  As a result, research on what happens when more informational text is included in primary-grade classrooms is beginning to emerge. For example, a study conducted by Duke, Martineau, Frank, and Bennett-Armistead (2003) in first-grade classrooms in low-SES school districts indicated that children in low-SES classrooms with more informational text had the same levels of overall reading and writing achievement as children in comparison low-SES classrooms who had no informational text and were better writers of informational text. Further, the children‟s attitudes towards recreational reading in informational text-rich classrooms did not decline.  As well, children entering first-grade with low sound-letter knowledge, who were exposed to informational text and activities involving informational text, achieved higher levels of reading comprehension and writing than comparable children in the comparison classrooms. Overall, the inclusion of informational text had positive effects on first graders‟ reading and writing achievement, and served as a motivator for some groups of students.  34    The increase in the use of informational text in primary classrooms has also brought about a small number of studies which have focused on the special comprehension demands these texts require.  For example, my own case study (2008) illustrated and compared the metacognitive strategies a third-grade female student used while reading narrative and informational texts. I found that the student used markedly different metacognitive strategies for each genre, resulting in comprehension difficulties while reading the informational text. The findings suggest that for students to meet the challenges of informational texts, they must be taught specific metacognitive strategies while working with explicit text structures.  In another study, researchers investigated the effectiveness of an instructional program designed to teach expository text comprehension during guided reading lessons of three groups of second grade students (Hall, K., Sabey, & McClellan, 2005). Findings suggest that explicit teaching of text structure is an effective strategy for promoting informational text comprehension in young children.   These studies have recently called into question what kinds of non-narrative texts children should be exposed to, as all informational text is not the same (Moss, 2008).  Dreher and Voelker (2004) argue that an exposure to a range of informational texts types is essential if teachers expect children to develop facility with this genre.   As Chambliss and Calfee (1998) point out, particular information text types enable children to become familiar with particular discourse forms associated with specific content areas.  Further, exposure to other types of informational texts enable children to experience information provided in visual representations such as maps, charts and graphs, and helps prepare children for engagement with more challenging documents.   Although related terms associated with informational text abound (e.g., factual, expository, non-fiction, non-narrative), for purposes of this study I draw on several definitions.  The term informational text as used in this study refers to texts whose function is to inform. Informational texts include:  characteristic relationships (e.g., compare/contrast, cause-effect),  technical vocabulary, lexico-grammatical features (e.g., classificatory nouns, continuous present verb tense), visuals (e.g., pictures, graphs, maps), expository genres (e.g., description,  35   explanation, procedure);  and come in many different forms (e.g., books, magazines, the Internet) (Duke & Bennett-Armistead, 2003; Duke & Kays, 1998; Moss, 2008)7.  For the most part, a vast amount of information suggesting how teachers should include informational text in their classrooms proliferates (cf. Duke, 2003; Duke, 2004; Duke & Bennett-Armistead, 2003; Hall, K. & Sabey, 2007; Kletzien & Dreher, 2004; Read, Reutzel, & Fawson, 2008; Yopp & Yopp, 2000); however, no research has focused on how an increase in attention by teachers to informational text is changing young children‟s information literacy practices in these classrooms.  Further, to my knowledge, there has been no research focused on the affordances of school and out-of-school contexts to provide opportunities for young children to engage in IL practices or the factors that limit these practices.  This study seeks to fill this critical gap.  2.2  Family literacy research   Consideration of the family environment as an educational setting has garnered much attention over the past two decades. Educators and researchers, however, continue to grapple with the notion that the environments of families and the activities that occur there can be recognized and understood in terms of the richness and complexity they add to the educational experience.  Tensions around this issue constitute debates regarding notions of good parenting, appropriate parent involvement, and favoured literacy practices in homes and in families (Edwards & Turner, 2008).   The field of family literacy research is extensive.  For purposes of this dissertation, I review three areas that are pertinent to the present study: (a) research that addresses the home environment as a context for literacy learning, (b) research that addresses families and family members‟ roles in young children‟s literacy learning, and (c) research that addresses the literacy practices of families with particular attention to the types, availability, and uses of texts in the home. Further, to situate the present study more explicitly, I focus on studies that report on culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse families, reflecting the characteristics of the focal children of the present study.                                                  7 It should also be noted that I draw on the work of several others to define the larger notion of text beyond the written.  Following the work of Gee (1999) and Pahl and Rowsell (2005), I view text as carrying different Discourses as made up of  visuals, sounds, movement and gestures; I also see texts as artefacts tracing back to people and places.  Further, drawing on the work of Kress (2003a), I also see text as the result and expression of social action.  36    2.2.1  The home environment as a context for literacy learning  Research into the home environment as a place for literacy learning has been firmly rooted since the 1980s when Shirley Brice Heath‟s (1983) classic study of children‟s language learning in two communities in the Piedmont area of the Carolinas was first published.  Since this time, a number of ethnographic studies on culturally, linguistically and economically diverse families (e.g., Li, 2006; Purcell-Gates, 1996; Taylor, 1993; Taylor & Dorsey-Gaines, 1988; Teale, 1986) have provided a deeper understanding of the home as a context for literacy learning and the development of young children.  These ethnographic studies and others discussed further in this chapter, provide valuable foundational evidence demonstrating that children come to school with diverse literacy experiences.  Heath‟s (1983) seminal ethnography offered a close look at the patterns of children‟s language development in the black community of Trackton and the white community of Roadville, both located in the area where Heath taught and lived.  Heath found that the patterns of literacy practices of the two communities stood in stark contrast to each other.  Roadville children were imbued with “ways” and discourses that would ensure them initial success in mainstream academics. Trackton‟s children, on the other hand, developed linguistic and cognitive patterns which were not consistent with those equated for readiness in mainstream schools, putting them at disadvantage for future academic success.  Anderson and Stokes‟ (1984) study of low-income families‟ literacy practices revealed that these families can and do provide rich literacy environments for their children.  Based on over 2000 observations of literacy events and behaviours in the homes, the researchers categorized the events into several different domains of literacy activity.  Anderson and Stokes reported that these literacy events were not isolated bits of activity but were embedded in functional systems around interpersonal communication, daily living, religion, and entertainment.  Taylor and Dorsey-Gaines (1988) in their study of six low-income inner-city African-American families also found that these families extensively used literacy in their daily routines.  However, similar to the Trackton families in Heath‟s study, the children from these families failed to achieve success in school due to a mismatch between school expectations and the cultural expectations of the families. Although rich and authentic literacy experiences were available to the children in their homes, the school provided mainly decontextualized skill-type activities. That study served to question the negative assumptions commonly held regarding the  37   home literacy environments of children from nonmainstream cultural and ethnic minorities of low socioeconomic status.   More recent studies have explored the limits and potentials of mainstream literacy practices and have expanded the debates between traditional and progressive pedagogies.  For example, Compton-Lilly  (2003) studied the literate lives of her mainly African-American and Puerto-Rican urban first-graders and documented the ways in which the parents and children conceptualized reading.  Despite the negative assumptions the teachers and the larger community held for these children, Compton-Lilly found these assumptions unfounded and largely based on urban mythology and media depictions.  She reported that the parents of these urban children held and expressed high aspirations for their children around literacy and learning in general.    Li‟s more recent (2006) ethnographic study examined the cultural differences between teachers‟ and parents‟ views of what their children should learn and how they should be taught.  Although this study did not deal with low-income families (the Chinese immigrant families in the study were higher socioeconomically than the white middle-class teachers), the families were indeed culturally and linguistically different from the teaching staff.  Li described the many ways in which the teachers‟ educational beliefs and practices were in direct opposition to the parents‟ views.  Li‟s critical examination of the pedagogical beliefs of the mainstream majority illuminated its privileged status which set the tensions between the homes and school. The work of these ethnographers has raised awareness of: (a) the variations of literacy practices that take place in the home, (b) how practices may differ from home to home, and (c) how practices are related to literacy and language development.  Although the studies vary on the categories of literacy observed, they show that many children do come to school with a great deal of experience with written language, and more importantly, demonstrate that in culturally, linguistically and economically diverse families, these experiences are fundamentally grounded in social and cultural (rather than academic) purposes (Edwards, Paratore, & Roser, 2009).  2.2.2 Families’ and family members’ roles in young children’s literacy learning  The research on families supporting literacy learning has long been documented.  While Morrow (1995) contends that “parents are the first teachers their children have, and they are the teachers that children have for the longest time”(p. 6), various family members including siblings, grandparents, aunts and others repeatedly serve as teachers in the family context.  In this section, I discuss the notion of the role of parent involvement in children‟s literacy  38   development and then I discuss the research involving other family members‟ roles in children‟s literacy learning in relation to the present study.  The past three and a half decades has brought forth extensive research regarding the advantages of families‟ involvement in young children‟s literacy development.  However, as Gregory (2001) has pointed out, these studies have almost exclusively focused on parents working with children in particular school-sanctioned ways.  Despite the research that has documented the ways in which literacy mediates social activity (as previously discussed in this chapter), a majority of research concerning parents working with children contributes to a paradigm that invalidates home literacies and supports a transmission model of literacy. For example, a number of studies have documented the improvement of lower socioeconomic class children‟s achievement when parents learned and implemented school-based practices such as story-book reading, tracing letters, using flashcards and other narrowly-defined academic skills (Hannon & Weinberger, 1994; Hewison & Tizard, 1980; Tizard, Blatchford, Burke, Farquar, & Lewis, 1988).  This research served to support a deficit hypothesis by attributing literacy problems largely to the inadequacies of families (Auerbach, 1989).  Moreover, studies of this nature spawned a multitude of instructional programs whose purpose was to teach parents to incorporate mainstream literacy practices in order to improve the academic performance of their children (Purcell-Gates, 2000).  Much emphasis has been given to the parent as the provider of children‟s initiation into the world of literacy.  More recently, however, recognition has been given to families who, through collaborative group activity, are able to share responsibilities for this initiation (Gregory, 2000).  Acting as mediators, these individuals within the family and the wider community pass on cultural and linguistic knowledge in informal ways in their everyday activities and relationships with children.    The role of grandparents.  Research into grandparents serving as literacy mediators in the home has drawn considerable interest in the last few years.  In this section, I focus on a review of the research on grandparents as literacy mediators within the family in terms of its central importance to the present study.  Padmore (1994) first used the term “guiding light” to describe adult relatives other than parents who took a definitive role in children‟s early literacy life.  In analyses of her interviews with adults, Padmore found that her participants often mentioned a grandmother or grandfather who unwittingly acted as a literacy broker by involving their grandchildren in the literacies that  39   were embedded in their everyday lives.  Other studies have since investigated the influence of grandparents in transmitting literacy practices and values by providing materials (Gregory, Mace, Rashid, & Williams, 1996) or modeling ways of sharing and taking meaning from texts (Gregory, Arju, Jessel, & Kenner, 2007; Kelly, 2004; Whitehead, 2002).   Case study research has also shown how grandparents transmit cultural and linguistic knowledge to their grandchildren. For example, Luke and Kale‟s (1997)  study of a preschool child living with her grandmother is illustrative of how children develop knowledges about literacy. Elsey, the focal child in the study, participated in various literacy events at home from playing “homework” and copying words, to “yarning” in both her native language and in English as she participated with her grandmother in the oral performance of storytelling. Other case studies have focused on the benefits of the mutual exchange of learning between grandparents and grandchildren. Kenner, Ruby, Jessel, Gregory and Arju (2007) reported in their study of Sylheti/Bengali-speaking  and monolingual English-speaking families that when young children and grandparents jointly participated in events such as storytelling and computer gaming, the exchange of knowledge enhanced not only the learning for the children but also for the grandparents. Reanalyzing the data in order to take a closer look at two of the families profiled in their larger study, Kenner, Ruby, Jessel, Gregory and Arju (2008) compared the communicative practices between grandmother and grandchild dyads while playing a numeracy game and conducting a search on the Internet.  The researchers found that in each case the children and the grandparents worked together to navigate the activity, the grandparents providing knowledge with regard to literacy and numeracy, and the children providing skills regarding the computer.  As grandparents are becoming increasingly involved in the care of young children, these studies serve to highlight literacy as a social and cultural practice and acknowledge that grandparents do take important roles in supporting young children‟s literacy development.    The role of siblings.  Building on the notion that parents are not the sole mediators of children‟s literacy development, a significant body of theoretical work has been developed by Gregory and others (e.g., Drury, 2004; Gregory, 1998; 2001; 2004; Gregory, Long, & Volk, 2004; Williams, 2004) on the role of siblings in mediating each others‟ language and literacy learning.  These studies have stemmed from explorations on how older siblings influence younger children‟s cognitive development (Azmitia & Hesser, 1993). In extending this research to language and literacy learning, Gregory (1998) observed the complex syncretism of religious  40   and school-based literacy practices in the interaction between a child and her older sibling as the older sibling provided carefully adjusted scaffolding to the reading level of her younger sister.  This research further spawned investigations of the role that older siblings play in families where parents only speak the minority language (Blackledge, 2000; Volk, 1997; 1999).  For example, Volk and De Acosta (2001), in their study of the complex literacy lives of three Spanish kindergarteners, described how older siblings supported the children‟s developing literacy in the home. Gregory (2001) referred to this learning as a “synergy” in which both younger child and older sibling teach and learn equally from each other.  More recently, Mui and Anderson (2008) found in their investigation of an Indo-Canadian joint family  (three related nuclear families and the grandparents) living together in one household, that the older siblings and cousins (aged 3-14) helped to prepare the young siblings and cousins for the next grade or school entry by teaching, supporting and offering assistance in literacy activities.  Their work promotes the recognition of the synergy between siblings playing and working together, and demonstrates that young cousins and siblings close in age develop reciprocity for enhancing each others‟ literacy development.  Taken together, these studies acknowledge the diversity in not only the roles that different family members play in literacy but also awareness of the diversity of cultural and linguistic learning in families.  2.2.3 Types, availability and uses of texts in the home  Pertinent to this study is the research which investigates the availability, types and uses of texts in the home.  Edwards, Paratore and Roser (2009) contend that there are widely held assumptions regarding the literacy materials available in lower socioeconomic homes.  These assumptions concern the availability of texts, the types of texts, and the uses of texts in these homes.  In this section, I review the literature relating to these assumptions to further situate the present study.  Availability of texts.  Given that families live in a technological world where inexpensive texts abound and others are able to be accessed by the Internet, it is an assumption that all urban children have easy and equal access to these literacy-related resources.  Several studies have challenged this assumption.  For example, in their study examining and comparing the print environments of four Philadelphia neighbourhoods, Neuman and Celano (2001)  found that the number of bookstores in lower-income neighbourhoods stocking texts geared to children was substantially lower than in the middle-income neighbourhoods.  Further, in public libraries located in lower-income areas, the researchers found smaller collections of books, fewer  41   children‟s books per child, and earlier closing hours than those in public libraries located in middle-income communities.  Similar findings were reported in Worthy and Roser‟s (2004) study of text accessibility in a Spanish-speaking fifth grade classroom where the children were either immigrants or children of immigrant parents.  The researchers found no bookstore within a ten mile range of the children‟s school and no public library in close proximity.   Despite earlier study findings that confirmed large discrepancies in access to books between affluent and poor communities (Smith, Constantino, & Krashen, 1997), in a follow-up study Constantino (2005) discovered an “astounding”  difference in the access to books among several communities in the greater Los Angeles area. Not only did children in high socioeconomic communities have access to more books in the home, Constantino found that the schools did not make up the difference for children in low socioeconomic communities.  Other studies have reported information about the quantity of appropriate level books for young children in the home.  For example, Roberts (2008), in a study of home storybook reading, one-third of the participating 44 low-income families reported having no primary-level language books in the home and 50%  reported having fewer than five books.  This research is in marked contrast with some early case study research in middle-class homes (e.g., Baghban, 1984) that documented children as young as three years of age owning upwards of 70 children‟s books.  While some might argue that patronage of the public library may offset the scarcity of books in the home, Hemmeter (2006) has shown that library use is affected by such factors as income, distance, and availability of material suited to patron‟s needs.  Types of texts.  While the studies profiled in the previous section focused on the availability of literacy-related resources, the studies centred primarily on the availability of texts in the form of books.  A body of research investigating the literacy materials found in lower socioeconomic homes has shown that these homes may contain few books; however, many of these studies have also discovered that these homes contain a wide-ranging and varied amount of other printed texts.  For example, in the previously cited study by Heath (1983), it can be gleaned from Heath‟s thick descriptions that the lower-income Trackton homes included texts such as greeting cards, the Bible, drawings of older children, newspapers, colouring books, and Sunday school booklets.  Similarly, Teale‟s (1986) study of culturally, linguistically and economically diverse homes revealed that while some homes did have fewer children‟s books or texts than others, texts such as magazines, newspapers, television guides and paperbacks were readily available and mediated by the families.  Teale‟s study served to question the assumption  42   that the children of these homes entered formal schooling with “a dearth of literacy experience” (p.192).  Purcell-Gates (1996) also documented and described the ways that print was used in her study of 20 low-income homes in the Boston/Cambridge area of the United States.  She found that in these homes, entertainment and daily living constituted the two domains where the highest amount of print mediation occurred.  In the entertainment domain, families consulted the TV guide, read instructions for board games, and sought listings for movies in the newspaper. In their daily living routines, the families read texts for the purposes of cooking, cleaning or shopping.  In a later study, Duke and Purcell-Gates (2003) analyzed Purcell-Gates‟ field notes in order to identify some of the specific text genres that were found in the 20 low-income homes and compared them with the text genres found in the studies by Duke (2000a; 2000b) conducted in 10 first-grade low-socioeconomic classrooms.  The researchers reported that many of the genres found in the school settings were “school-only” (e.g., worksheets and story problems) and were not found in the homes, there were fewer genres found in both settings than in only one setting or the other, and many of the genres found in the home were related to entertainment and daily living (e.g., mail, recipes, comics).   While these studies have documented the text types found in low-income homes, there is a dearth of research about the availability of informational texts in these homes. The only research I found in this area was a study of storybook reading in middle-class homes in which Yopp and Yopp (2000) reported a scarcity of information books (only 5.5 books per child) in these middle-class homes. The researchers documented the books shared for parent-child read-alouds citing narrative text as the preferred choice and informational text seldom being used. As for the number of information books found in lower-income homes there is virtually no research.  Use of texts.  Although research has shown that lower-income and middle-class homes contain different texts, Taylor (1993) cautions against the assumptions that lead to a deficit theory of literacy growth.  Similarly, Moll and Greenberg (1990) have pointed out that many of these culturally and economically diverse families have “funds of knowledge” (p. 323) which provide the necessary knowledge, skills and information required to maintain the household.  Their study of families living within a Mexican working-class community in Arizona detailed the extensive funds of knowledge and paths of social networking these families possessed that  43   were specific to working and living in their communities. The researchers advise educators not to dismiss the knowledges (including the use of texts) within families, but to use them to provide links between the home and school.  In my case study of the literacy support given to a preschooler by her working-class family, I also challenged the misconception that children living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods have not been exposed to the “right kind” of literacy (2007). I observed the focal child Katie being purposefully initiated into literacy by others in the home by recording events on a calendar, by making birthday cards, and by choosing TV programs from the on-screen guide.  My study suggested that there are indeed many paths that children take to literacy, however idiosyncratic they may be. In sum, the review of the research on family literacy has identified the need for further research in three areas.  First, there is a continued need to examine the literacy practices in culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse families, but more importantly, there needs to be a specific focus on the information literacy practices of these families.  Second, the review has identified a need to look closely at the members of the families, particularly grandparents and siblings, in their role as mediators in the information literacy practices of the home.  Finally, the review of the research on text types, uses, and availability has called for examination of the availability and use of informational texts in these homes.  The current study seeks to map these new directions in the research.  2.3 Young children’s literacy and technology research (including multimodality and representation of meaning)  Some of the most extensive reviews of the research in literacy development and new technologies is the work of Kamil, Intrator and colleagues (Kamil & Intrator, 1998; Kamil et al., 2000; Kamil & Lane, 1998).    Needing to map the research concerned specifically with the 0-8 years age range in the area of new technologies (i.e., computer-based applications), Lankshear and Knobel (2003b) turned to Kamil and Intrator‟s landmark reviews as a starting point. Lankshear and Knobel found that the corpus of studies included in Kamil and Intrator‟s reviews reflected mainly a cognitive and quantitative orientation and treated literacy in a monolithic way.  Specifically, Kamil and Intrator‟s reviews did not take into consideration studies with a qualitative orientation or those studies that addressed literacy acquisition as a sociocultural phenomenon in relation to new technologies.  Perhaps most alarmingly, Lankshear and Knobel  44   found that the corpus of research pertaining to the early years was extremely small.  With these survey parameters included in their own review of the literature, Lankshear and Knobel concluded that there are two aspects to the research of new technologies in early childhood: (a) types of computing media, and (b) social purposes associated with computing mediated text production, distribution and exchange. I focus on this second aspect of the research for the present study.  Within the research associated with the social purposes of new technologies, Lankshear and Knobel (2003b) draw two distinctions between how literacy may be viewed.  In the first, literacy is understood as a capacity to encode and decode alphabetic print, or as they state, “competent handling of texts that are meaningful to „insiders‟ of particular sociocultural practices and discourse communities” (p.73).  Technological activities relating to this distinction extend to the use of electronic early reader books, drill and skill software and the like.  In the second distinction, literacy is viewed as acquiring competence with mature and authentic forms of meaning-making within the contexts of social practices.  Examples of technological activities relating to this distinction involve participating in appropriate online communities, game playing within popular culture themes, movie-making, or blogging via networks.  As Marsh (2004) contends, when children are able to access text in a range of modes (e.g., on computers, on television, in pictures) it is no longer appropriate to focus solely on literacy as a paper-based activity.  She argues, “… the concept of multiliteracies has served to push the boundaries of what it means to be engaged in encoding and decoding text” (p. 52)  and as Kress (2000) has pointed out, definitions of literacy must include the visual, aural and gestural ways of meaning-making.  It is within this distinction that I further situate the present study and review the very small body of literature related to early childhood literacy.  Most of the research reviewed in this chapter has focused on young children‟s literacy as an activity involving the use of print.  Indeed, since Clay‟s (1966) introduction of the term “emergent literacy” in 1966, the most influential studies on young children‟s emerging literacy have been solely focused on print literacy (cf. Hall, N., 1987; Teale & Sulzby, 1986).  As Marsh (2004) contends, there has been less extensive research in relation to wider definitions of literacy which take into account technology and multimodal ways of meaning-making (Kress, 1997).   One of the earliest studies to explore young children‟s meaning-making (albeit print-related) was that of Harste, Burke and Woodward (1984) who believed that young children‟s  45   authoring used the same strategies as adults but results reflected their interests and experiences.  The researchers showed that young children moved across communication systems in multimodal ways.  Rowe (1994) took up this notion of authoring demonstrating that young children use a variety of graphic media and switch between modalities as their interests and intent shifted.  In his seminal text in the area of multimodality, Kress (1997) argues that young children choose modes, means and materials to reflect the important things they want to represent.  This meaning-making may also cut across adult cultural uses or sanctions.    A number of scholars have also taken up Kress‟s work (e.g., Kenner, 2000b; Lancaster, 2001; Pahl, 1999; 2002).  For example,  Pahl (2002), in her ethnographic study of three families, examined the meaning-making of young children through their creation of texts  and their  improvisation upon materials found in the homes.  These texts were on the cusp between mess and tidiness, and were shaped by the family‟s long-standing and often hidden narratives.  Lancaster (2001), in her analysis of video segments recorded while a young child made a Mother‟s day card with her father, demonstrated that young children are capable of abstract reasoning in their representation and interpretation of graphic signs.  In a more recent study, Kendrick and McKay (2004) examined the drawings of five and six year olds depicting reading and writing across the various contexts in their lives.  The children were able to express complex understandings about reading and writing in the images they produced for the researchers, but were apparently not in evidence in the daily language arts activities of the classroom.  These findings called into question the assumption that language as a communicational and representational medium is fully adequate to express what children feel, think, sense or say (Kress, 2000).  While researchers have investigated the out-of-school technologically related practices of older children (cf. Hull & Schultz, 2001), there have been fewer studies providing information on how younger children engage with other technologies such as film, computer games and television.  A few studies have looked into the role that television has played in young children‟s literacy experience in the home (e.g., Kenner, 2000a; Orellana, 1994) and have emphasized how children are active meaning-makers in relation to this technology.  Marsh (2004), in her study surveying the  home techno-literacy practices of young children in relation to a wide range of media (e.g., television, computer games, and mobile phones),  found that television was the primary text in the families‟ homes and that the children were active participants in making meaning as audience and co-performers. Marsh also observed in this  46   study that gendered patterns of gaming were evident in the families who owned a computer or a console-game machine or both, and that siblings and caregivers colluded in the identity construction of the young players.  Although there is a lack of extensive research regarding media texts and new technologies, these studies provide emerging evidence that technologies are embedded within many young children‟s lives and contribute to children‟s meaning-making. Little is known about young children‟s techno-literacy, particularly in culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse families.  Thus, the impetus for research in this area is a priority.  2.4  Out-of-school literacy research   To talk of literacy these days, Hull and Schultz (2002) argue, is to speak about “events, practices, activities, ideologies, discourses, and identities” (p. 32).  In doing so, we begin to understand some of the multifaceted ways in which literacy connects with doing, learning, and becoming both inside and outside of school.  As a result, research has been directed in looking at the resources, both personal and community based, that children may bring to school  (Dyson, 2003a; Knobel, 1999; Moll et al., 1992) in order to improve the life chances of those children who have been most poorly served.    Out-of-school literacy has multiple meanings in the research field, but two broad distinctions delineate the main positions.  The first view takes into consideration any literacy practice occurring outside of formal school contexts (including school-like practices) (Knobel & Lankshear, 2003).  This view of out-of-school literacy includes practices such as intergenerational or caregiver storybook reading, name writing, print awareness, decoding food and brand labels, drawing and colouring, and completing school homework (cf. Cairney, 2002; Janes & Kermani, 2001).  The second view excludes school literacies from consideration focusing on those out-of-school literacies which are generally not recognized as school literacy and are perhaps not permitted or encouraged in school.  Within this second broad distinction Knobel and Lankshear (2003) argue, that issues requiring clarification arise.  The first issue relates to age.  Some researchers in this field include only out-of-school literacies that are practiced from the formal schooling of preschool to high school.  While one might argue that it seems more fitting to include those emergent literacy practices that occur prior to formal schooling, it seems rather displaced to label and include those literacies practiced beyond high school as “out-of-school.” Some researchers have tackled  47   this problem by accounting for those literacies practiced by adults who engage in “life-long learning” involving on-going professional development, work-based training programs, higher education institutions and the like. Indeed, much of the earlier “out-of-school” research was developed with adults in this area.   A second issue within this distinction relates to the inclusion of particular sets of concepts that are situated between the boundaries between school and the wider world.   These concepts include community literacies, family literacy, intergenerational literacy, and literacies of popular culture.  Within this issue lies the implication that school literacy is the “right kind” and those literacies that fall outside of school literacy are less valid or “unofficial.”   These literacies are often only acknowledged in service capacities, in the ways they enhance of school literacy performance.    While Knobel and Lankshear (2003) provide four broad positions to define and distinguish out-of-school literacy practices, for purposes of situating the current study, I acknowledge out-of-school literacies as “any literacy practice engaged in by preschool and school-age individuals in settings outside the school that is not a formally recognized literacy practice within school pedagogy and curriculum” (p. 52, italics in the original).  I take up this definition to include those out-of-school literacies researched in most of the literature reviewed in this chapter, particularly in the areas of family literacy research and young children‟s literacy and technology research.  I also draw upon this definition to closely examine the boundaries drawn between school and out-of-school literacies and observe the possible permeability or crossings of these boundaries.  With this in mind, I now focus my review of out-of-school literacy on a smaller corpus of studies documenting younger children (age 0-8 years).  2.4.1 Research on young children’s out-of-school literacy    Since Heath‟s (1983) study was profiled earlier in this chapter, I will only highlight key aspects here. Heath‟s ten year ethnography of three distinctly different communities in the Piedmont area of the United States documents the markedly different ways of speaking, reading, writing and listening in each of these communities. Children‟s home literacy practices (such as reading and writing stories) in the Maintown middle-class community were overtly valued and taken up in school.  Roadville children‟s home literacy practices included reading, writing and speaking that focused on factual information and literal interpretations that gave them initial success in school, but would prove unsuccessful over time as teachers required more abstract and creative work.  Trackton children‟s home literacy practices included crafting elaborate oral  48   narratives and playing with words that involved rhyming and singing, practices not valued in the school setting and ultimately limiting the children‟s success with school literacy. Heath‟s study confronts the taken-for-granted assumptions that working-class families do not engage in rich literacy experiences at home or in their communities.  Her seminal study gave opportunities for educators to rethink the literacy practices they valued most in their classroom and to make greater efforts to accommodate different ways of being literate.  Volk and De Acosta‟s  (2001) ethnographic case studies of three Puerto Rican children (aged five and six years) identify what “counts” as literacy in these children‟s everyday lives including the school, home and the church.  The three children, who had varying degrees of reading proficiency, attended the same bilingual English/Spanish preschool and were inducted into literacy learning by their families‟ involvement with out-of-school practices. Volk and De Acosta suggest that the literacy practices of the home blended with the literacy practices valued in schools and churches to create collaborative, culturally-rooted literacy practices. Similar to Heath, the researchers call for educators to recognize out-of-school literacies as significant resources on which to base classroom teaching.  The work of Pahl (2002) focused explicitly on three young boys‟ text production in their homes.  In particular, Faith (aged 5 years) drew on media and popular culture, church practices, and his interest in birds for drawing and story-writing.  Sol, aged six years, spent most of his out-of-school time inventing, drawing, and modeling new Pokémon characters and cards. Edward, aged eight years, produced a variety of texts reflecting his and his family‟s interest in trains, using a range of resources from the family including narratives, models and experiences.  Pahl‟s documentation also showed how the boys produced “ephemeral” texts made of whatever was at hand and were so localized and so specific that they would not be recognized as texts by teachers. Pahl advises researchers to pay closer attention to children‟s meaning-making in the home as many texts are intimately connected with the spaces in which they are crafted. Hicks‟ (2002) ethnographic case study of two white, working-class children living in a large city in the United States demonstrates the importance and influence of home-based relationships and experiences in young children‟s lives. Profiling the lives of Laurie and Jake, both five years at the beginning of the study, Hicks demonstrated how both children had considerable emergent literacy knowledge before entering formal schooling.  Once in school however, the children struggled with literacy. Hicks‟ study showed how an understanding of children‟s literacy  49   practices and abilities at home and school is needed.  She also urges teachers not to discount the importance of parent-child relationships, and family and class values.  Sze, Chapman and Shi (2009) examined four ESL Grade 2 children‟s productions of written genres in and out-of-school.  They found that the children‟s home writing was far richer in the range and diversities of genres when compared to the school writing.  Given that the school had encouraged the children to write in a broader range of genres, the researchers found this surprising.  They attributed this finding to the amount of freedom the children had been given to write at home, whereas in school the teachers had actually constrained the children in their efforts to assist in the young writers‟ growth.   Their study also serves to suggest that the school needs to recognize the strong influence that the home has on young children‟s literacy development.  Similarly, Dyson‟s (2001a; 2001b; 2001c; 2003a; 2003b) long term studies of children‟s early writing development has shown the resources children bring to their writing from their social world, including symbolic and appropriated tools from popular culture.   Dyson‟s work has been central to the understanding of how children take up media and popular cultural texts from their home and community to create an “unofficial curriculum” (1997) in the classroom.  My own research has also shown that the boundaries between home and school can be more porous than we imagine (2009).   Profiling a third grade student‟s home use of the Internet to gather information unavailable to him at school, I demonstrated how recognition must be given to out-of-school interests and technologies in order to engage in literacy practices as framed by schools.  Further, as Hicks (2001) suggests, schools need to develop “hybrid pedagogical spaces” (p. 225) which offer places for learners to “try on” new literacy practices which may be different than their own.  In summary, these studies offer evidence of the considerable contributions out-of-school literacies make to the understanding of the rich and complex literacy practices in which young children engage in their everyday lives.  Recognition of students‟ out-of-school lives helps educators to build meaningfully and successfully on students‟ literacies and realize the synergistic relationships that exist between the school and the home.  2.5 Summary  In this chapter, I presented a review of the empirical research findings of four research trajectories related to the present study:  IL research (including young children‟s use of  50   informational text), family literacy research (including research on culturally, linguistically and economically diverse home literacy environments; family roles; and the availability, uses, and types of texts), young children‟s literacy and technology research (including multimodality and the representation of meaning), and out-of-school literacy research.  In doing so, the present study was situated in the existing literature providing a foundation on which to link the findings presented in subsequent chapters.  This chapter also highlighted several gaps in the research on young children‟s literacy development.  Specifically, there is a need to focus on: (a) the affordances of school and out-of-school contexts to provide opportunities for children to engage in IL practices, (b) the availability and use of informational texts in culturally, linguistically and economically diverse homes, (c) young children‟s techno-literacy, and (d) the out-of-school literacies of young children as significant classroom teaching resources.  This study addresses these gaps.         51   CHAPTER THREE:  RESEARCH METHODOLOGY  3.0 Introduction  In this chapter, I outline the methodological assumptions underlying the present study.  In the first section, I discuss the qualitative multiple-case study research design and my rationale for its adoption. Within this section, I provide a definition of case study as I discuss and draw on the multiple conceptions of the term found in the literature.  Next, I present an overview of how the research participants were selected for the study and offer a brief description of each.  This is followed by a description of the context of the study including a description of the school context in which the participants were observed and data were collected.  I then discuss data collection procedures.  Following, I describe my data analysis procedures in detail and then move to discuss the researcher-participant relationship and the ways in which the relationship impacted the study. Finally, I address the issues of trustworthiness in terms of the credibility, dependability, confirmability, and transferability of the study.  I end the chapter with a short summary.   3.1  The research design  As argued in Chapter One, there has been very little research in evidence of young children‟s IL development, and virtually no research is in evidence, with the exception of my own work (2009), investigating how school and out-of-school contexts  afford opportunities for children to engage in IL practices. It is the intention of this present study to fill this gap by investigating:  (a) how school contexts afford opportunities for children to engage in IL practices, and (b) how out-of-school contexts afford opportunities for children to engage in IL practices.  From the production and analyses of thick descriptions of the IL practices in both contexts, it examines: (c) the factors that constrain the opportunities in these contexts, and (d) how children appropriate and recontextualize school and out-of-school IL practices for their own purposes.    The following questions guided the study:  1. How do school contexts afford opportunities for children to engage in IL    practices? What factors constrain these school opportunities?  52   2. How do out-of-school contexts afford opportunities for children to engage in IL  practices?  What factors constrain these out-of-school opportunities? 3. How do children appropriate and recontextualize school and out-of-school IL  practices for their own purposes?  The exploratory nature of these research questions calls for a research methodology suited to investigate how a certain phenomenon operates or why it operates in a particular way. Addressing the present study from an interpretivist stance, I have adopted a qualitative multiple-case study design.   3.1.1 Rationale for the research design  In this section, I discuss my rationale for adopting a qualitative multiple-case study design.  To do this, I first look at the definitions of case study as they are presented in the literature and then provide my own working definition for this study.  As I narrow the focus to look specifically at multiple-case study, I also justify my design decisions by relating the literature to the present study.   Definitions of case study.  At present, case study research is not only enjoying a renewed popularity in education but also in other areas of social inquiry. With this renewed enthusiasm, the term “case study” has not been used in a standardized way, and as Gomm and Hammersley (2000) point out, the notion of case study has not been restricted to the research context.  Case study, often linked with the term case history, has been used widely in clinical fields such as psychology and medicine. Other fields, including engineering and business, have also taken up case study, which in turn has yielded differing perspectives.  The definitional issue deserves careful consideration because different conceptions of the term “case” are central to the enduring gulf between quantitative and qualitative social science.  The view that quantitative researchers look at many cases, while qualitative researchers look at only one or a small number of cases, can only be maintained by allowing considerable slippage in what is meant by “case” (Ragin, 1992). What is needed, Ragin contends, is greater clarity in what is meant by case and differentiation of the various meanings of case.  In doing so, we can simplify the linking of quantitative and qualitative research and bring richness and unity to the conduct of social science.  There seems to be  little agreement about what a case study is and indeed, various definitions abound (Lincoln & Guba, 1985).  Creswell (1998) defines a case study as “an  53   exploration of a „bounded system‟ of a case (or multiple-cases) over time through detailed, in-depth data collection involving collective sources of information rich in context” (p. 61).  A case may be simple or complex and,  according to Creswell, can be a program, an event, an activity, or individuals, but needs boundedness (i.e., the boundaries or the specificity) to be called a case.   Yin (2003) defines case study as a comprehensive research strategy  that “comprises an all-encompassing method – covering the logic of design, data collection techniques, and specific approaches to data analysis” (p.14).  Stake (1995) argues that “[c]ase study is the study of the particularity and complexity of a single case, coming to understand its activity within important circumstances” (p. xi).  Merriam (1998) defines case study as a research design that is non-experimental.  She notes that the qualitative case study can be further defined by its features, namely particularistic (i.e., a focus on a situation, event, or phenomenon), descriptive (i.e., a “thick” description of the phenomenon under study is produced) or heuristic (i.e., the reader‟s understanding of phenomenon is enhanced; new meanings are discovered, and a rethinking of the phenomenon is initiated).   Taken together, these definitions have assisted in my own definition of case study.  As such, I define case study as a heuristic device to answer the question of what is the particularity and complexity of a bounded system that is intrinsically interesting to the researcher.   Multiple-case study.  A multiple-case study is a study involving a number of cases (Stake, 2000).  These cases may be similar or dissimilar and are chosen because the belief is that understanding them will lead to better understanding, and very possibly, to better theorizing about an even larger collections of cases.  Yin (2003) considers single- and multiple-case designs to be variants within the same methodological framework.  He makes no broad distinction between the single-case study and multiple-case studies.  He argues that the choice is considered one of research design with both being included under the case study method.  Barone (2004), however, contends that through the use of multiple-cases a stronger understanding and a more compelling argument can be made, resulting in increased credibility.  Although Wolcott (1994) has criticized the multiple-case study stating that meticulous description and detail is lost with the redundancy of cases, Miles and Huberman (1994) embrace the multiple-case study in its ability to contribute to the literal replication, or in this sense, the prediction of similar results (Yin, 2003). Further, multiple-case study contributes to theoretical replication, where the multiple-cases are used to produce  contrasting results for predictable  54   reasons  (Barone, 2004; Yin, 2003). It is because of the compelling nature of the multiple-case study that I have chosen it as the present study‟s design.  Important components of a case study design. As is true with other research methods, the following components of a case study research design are important:  a study‟s question; its propositions; its unit(s) of analysis; the logic linking the data to the propositions; and the criteria for interpreting the findings.  With regard to questions, appropriate case study questions are formulated that begin with how  (Yin, 2003) and what (Creswell, 1998).  The questions of the present study are reflective of the purpose of the study. These questions invite, as Yin would argue, exploration, description, and explanation.   The propositions of a case study directs attention to something that should be focused on during the course of the study (Yin, 2003).  As previously mentioned in Chapter One, the propositions and hypotheses for the present study, rest on the findings from the pilot study.  Specifically, I want to probe more deeply the affordances of the school and out-of-school contexts that provide opportunities for children to engage in IL practices, and I hypothesize that specific external and internal factors might constrain these opportunities.  These hypotheses relate directly to my research questions for the present study.  Once the questions and purpose for the case study are established, the researcher needs to select  the unit or units of analysis (Barone, 2004; Baumann & Duffy-Hester, 2000). Yin (2003) states that “your tentative definition of the unit of analysis (and therefore the case) is related to the way you have defined your initial research questions” (p. 23).  Yin also asserts that when the unit of analysis is defined, there is still opportunity to redefine it.  As with other facets of the research design, Yin asserts, the unit of analysis can be revisited as a result of discoveries arising during data collection. The unit of analysis in the present study is the children‟s IL practices in school and out-of-school.  How children recontextualize school and out-of-school IL practices for their own purposes has the potential to serve as a contribution of the case study to theory.    Yin (2003) states that the linking of data to the propositions and the criteria for interpreting the findings is the least well developed aspect of case studies.  He argues for a general analytic strategy for defining priorities in what to analyze and the reasons behind it. He describes three case study analytic strategies:  1) relying on theoretical propositions, 2) rival explanations and, 3) case descriptions.  In the present study, I use the general analytic strategy of following the theoretical propositions leading to the design of this multiple-case study which,  55   in turn, reflect my research questions. Using this strategy enables me to employ other analytical data manipulation tools (e.g., Atlas.ti, matrices, displays).  I also used the technique of cross-case analysis. These will be discussed further in the analysis section of the chapter.  Quality of the case study.  Other components relating to the quality of the case study are reported in the literature and have been taken into consideration for the present study.  For example,  in determining the selection of participants, Patton (1990) discusses the need for purposeful sampling in case study research and recommends the selection of information–rich cases whose study will illuminate the questions proposed.  Patton also identifies the strategy of “stratified purposeful sampling” (p. 174) in which above average, average and below average cases will be selected to capture major variations. In the present study attention to the selection of information-rich cases is central.  Selection procedures for the focal school, the focal teacher, and the focal children will be explained later in this chapter.  Another determinant to the quality of case study is the use of multiple sources of evidence (Yin, 2003). Multiple sources of evidence are advantageous in the development of “converging lines of inquiry” (p.98) or triangulation.  This increases the “trustworthiness” of the data (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Yin also argues for the creation of a chain of evidence.  In this way the reader can follow the path of data collection and analysis with the research. The data sources for the present study include semi-structured interviews with the teacher and the children and their family members, video tapes, field notes, observations, and collection of artefacts (e.g., writing samples, children‟s projects) and documents from the school and home. The data and how they are triangulated are discussed more thoroughly in subsequent chapter sections.  The purpose of the data collection in case study is to gain analytic insight into the dimensions and dynamics of the phenomenon being studied.  This process is inductive and is not only grounded in the collected data, but also in the researcher‟s reflexivity (i.e., an awareness of the researcher's contribution to the construction of meanings throughout the research process).  It is through analytic work that the inner workings of the case are constructed (Dyson & Genishi, 2005).  To assist in analyzing case study evidence,  Miles and Huberman (1994) offer three concurrent flows of activity as analytic strategies: data reduction, data display and conclusion drawing/verification.  These flows of activity are vital to the analysis of the data collected in the present study and are expanded more fully in the data analysis section of this chapter.  56    Credibility for a case study can be supported by length of time in the field (Merriam, 1988).  Through extended time in the field, the researcher is able to see patterns, rather than single events, which may or may not be representative of the phenomenon under study.  In the present study, time in the field amounted to a total of seven months and traced the lives and cultural practices related to information literacy of the focal cases.  While I do not claim that the present study is an ethnography, I do employ many of the data collection and data analyses procedures found typically in ethnographic research.    In summary, the present study adopts the research tradition of multiple-case study.  Each focal child constitutes a case that is bounded by the school and the out-of-school contexts.  Each case is intrinsically interesting in its particularity and complexity and the study of these cases will be instrumental to understanding of the development of children‟s IL practices.  In adopting such a design, it is hoped a database for future comparison and theory building may be generated.   It is not the intent of this study to generalize to other populations but rather to focus on the particularity and complexity of each case, as stated in my definition of case study at the beginning of the chapter. It is hoped that this study will lead to a better understanding about an even larger collection of cases by making analytic generalizations (i.e., expanding and generalizing theory)(Yin, 2003) and ultimately contributing to the creation of more effective literacy pedagogies and curricula.  3.2 The research context and participants  3.2.1 Selection of the school    In order to conduct this multiple-case study investigating young children‟s school and out-of-school IL practices, I sought a school research site that matched certain criteria.   My first criterion was a primary classroom whose teacher was focusing on informational text.  As the research timeline would span several months, it was also important that the teacher was comfortable with me in his/her classroom as I engaged in various forms of data collection.  Secondly, from this classroom, I sought a group of focal children (and their families) to participate in the study.  The nature of the study required that I spend time (again, spanning several months) in their homes and in attendance at their other out-of-school activities.  It was important that the families were comfortable with a researcher who would be following the focal child as they went about their daily routines.  57    For several years prior to the study, I had been teaching at a school in a job-share position as a primary teacher.  At a professional development meeting in October of the school year prior to the study‟s start date, I was invited by the principal to share the findings of my pilot study.  After the meeting, I was approached by two staff members who took an interest in IL and made offers to be included in any further studies I was to undertake. It became evident that this school could be a viable site in which to conduct the study. Northwood Elementary8 was similar to the school in the pilot study, enrolling a range of economically, culturally and linguistically diverse students.  Although Northwood Elementary and the pilot study school were located in different school districts and in different areas of the province, they shared characteristics common to many metropolitan areas in Canada. Thus, the similarities of the research settings could strengthen the analytic generalizations and contribute to a data base from which to compare other cases in similar contexts. A complete and detailed description of the school context is discussed further in this chapter.    3.2.2  Selection of the classroom   After receiving approval from the University of British Columbia Behavioural Ethics Committee to conduct the study (see Appendix A), I made contact with the two teachers from Northwood Elementary to determine their willingness to be included in the study at the start of the new school year.  Both teachers were still interested in participating, and had classroom assignments (grade one and grade two) that fit the criteria of the study. At a meeting, it was mutually agreed that priority would be given to the teacher with the grade one teaching assignment.  Thus, letters inviting children and their families to participate in the study were sent home in mid-September with all the students from the grade one teacher‟s classroom.  The response time given to the families to indicate their desire to participate in the study was one week.  Although this timeline was short, I felt that a longer time to respond would result in the forms being misplaced.  However, as the final date to return the participation form passed and there were no responses from any of the families, it was decided in consultation with the teacher and my advisor that a second invitation letter to participate should be sent home.  This second invitation letter also did not generate any response.  At this time it was determined that although the teacher was a willing participant, the study could not be conducted in this classroom.  In consultation with the teacher and my advisor                                                  8 All names used in this study are pseudonyms.  58   it was suggested that I return to the grade two teacher who had also indicated interest in being included in the study.  When approached, the teacher, Ms. Davidson, heartily agreed to participate and became the focal teacher for the study.  She also readily agreed to offer her classroom as the research site. I also obtained a positive response from families in this second setting.  Permission to conduct the study at the school was also granted from the principal and the school district.  3.2.3 The research participants   The focal teacher.  Ms. Davidson, the focal teacher in this study, is a single Caucasian woman in her early fifties.  At the time of the study, she was one of two teachers assigned to teaching grade two at Northwood Elementary.  This was her 16th year as a primary teacher, having taught all the primary grades from kindergarten throu