Introducing Literacy to Four Year Olds: Creating Classroom Cultures in Three Schools

Gregory, Eve E.; Williams, Ann; Baker, Dave and Street, Brian. 2004. Introducing Literacy to Four Year Olds: Creating Classroom Cultures in Three Schools. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 4(1), pp. 85-108. ISSN 14687984 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

A principal aim of the National Curriculum in England was to ensure equality of opportunity for all children, regardless of race or social class. This aim was strengthened through the introduction of the National Literacy Strategy 10 years later which set out to standardize not just the literacy curriculum itself but also the materials and methods used to teach it. But are children living in very different economic circumstances really given equal access to literacyduring their first year in school? This article first uses insights from the work of Bourdieu on the economic, social and cultural capital or resources possessed by families and Bernstein on different curricula and pedagogic discourse to explain why some children are likely to have more success than others in making sense of classroom learning. It then goes on to argue that neither theory can fully account for children’s progress and shows how one teacher creates a particular culture with her class that defies existing paradigms of social class, capital and early school success.

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Educational Studies


April 2004Published

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Date Deposited:

12 Mar 2009 15:41

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 09:13

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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