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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Gender and Identity in Literacy Events: Girls and Boys Reading and Writing in the Fifth Grade

Jessica Zacher.

This paper presents findings from an ethnographic study of the contextual salience of gender as it intersects race and social class in literacy events in a San Francisco, California, integrated fifth grade classroom. The impetus to study gender in this context came from reports on the interplay of race and social class with different school experiences of girls and boys. The theoretical frame of the study is based on a Bakhtinian awareness that written and oral texts are addressive, that they are contextualized spatially, chronologically, and in human relationships, which makes them sites of active identity negotiation for authors, other readers, and, especially in this case, peers. This study also conceptualizes students‚ literacy practices within a geographical framework that positions children as social actors and attends to their use of everyday spaces. Finally, this presentation offers positive models for teaching social justice issues in the urban, integrated classroom.


Jessica Zacher  (United States)
Graduate Student Instructor
Graduate School of Education
University of California, Berkeley

Jessica Zacher is a doctoral student and teaching assistant at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Education, in Language & Literacy. She taught kindergarten for three years in San Francisco and conducted this research there. Her interests include literacy development, identity construction, and children‚s literacies in urban

  • Ethnographic

(30 min Conference Paper, English)