The Limits of Institutionalized Literacies: Minority Community Literacies and One U.S. University

Christopher Schroeder


After reviewing results from the Nation’s Report Card in Writing, this article presents data from a survey of Latino students, the largest ethnic group of students at Northeastern Illinois University. These data suggest that the Hispanic students at Northeastern are similar to their national Hispanic peers in several ways, such as the levels of parental education and the number of texts in their homes, yet different from them in other ways, such as exposure to English at home or level of involvement with parents and friends. Perhaps most significantly, these students report stronger beliefs in and attitudes about literacy than either their national Hispanic peers or national peers. Although more research is needed, these data indicate the need for new literacy theories and research methods to ensure that these experiences and expectations are legitimized not as educational liabilities but as intellectual assets.

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Publication of the Community Literacy Journal is made possible through the generous support of the English Department and the Writing and Rhetoric Program at Florida International University. The CLJ is a journal of the Conference on Community Writing.