Breadth and Depth, Imports and Exports: Transactions between the In- and Out-of-School Literacy Practices of an “At Risk” Youth

Principal Investigator: Stephanie Collins
Michigan State University


Ideologically situated alongside the New Literacy Studies, the CPLS employs case study to explore questions dually oriented toward literacy theory and practice. Marketed as a large-scale effort to rehabilitate underachieving public schools, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) directly affects the school literacy experiences of students often labeled “at risk.” A highly politicized (and perhaps dangerously determinist and essentializing) phrase, “at risk” seems to subsume many of the possible combinations and conflations of marginalized identity in the US. Whether called “at risk,” “disadvantaged,” “underprivileged,” or by her name, Penny, an African-American girl of low socioeconomic status, acutely lives out current policy decisions and will acutely live out upcoming decisions. In working with Penny to create a portrait of her in- and out-of school literacy practices and the transactions between these literacy spaces—a portrait of the “blended and separate domains” in which she practices literacies and the ends to which she does so


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