Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Rachel Heydon

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Roz Stooke

Joint Supervisor


Increasing diversity in the globalized world challenges the field of education such as policy development and curriculum design (Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 2009). With more and more students speaking a home language other than English entering schools, numerous studies have examined their English language development with a focus on how they learn to read and write at home and school. However, less is known about culturally and linguistically diverse children’s literacy practices across domains. This study investigated Chinese children’s literacy practices and asked What are Chinese children’s literacy practices at school, home, and in the community? What(linguistic and sociocultural) resources do Chinese children draw upon in their literacy practices? In what ways (if any) do classroom teachers, parents, and communities support Chinese children’s literacy practices?

The study took the social and cultural perspectives toward literacy with a focus on multiltieracies (the New London Group, 1996). In order to examine children’s literacy practices across domains, I employed the case study approach using ethnographic tools such as participant observations and semi-structured interviews to collect data (O’Reilly, 2005; Yin, 2005). Participants included Chinese families and teachers. Data analysis involves data triangulation, constant comparison and critical reflection.

Findings of the study indicate that children’s literacy practices were directed to print literacy in adult-organized literacy events and children’s literacy practices were multimodal in children-initiated literacy events, children drew upon their social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds to explore literacies, and adults provided certain degrees of support based on their understanding and backgrounds.