The Cultural Practices of Literacy Study (CPLS) is situated at the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Education. CPLS is an "umbrella" study that includes a series of case studies of literacy practice in socio-culturally-defined communities. Each case study is framed by theory that views literacy as social and cultural practice, patterned by institutions, historical events, values, beliefs, and power relationships. Each case study is also designed with the goal of developing early literacy instruction, particularly for marginalized and underachieving children, that builds on community literacy practices. Thus, CPLS also studies literacy practices within schooling contexts through either retrospective interviews or direct observations.
Another project within CPLS is the development of a large database of literacy practices within different socio-cultural contexts. Essentially, this database will serve for future meta-analyses across case studies. Finally, we have created a practitioner handbook for teachers who wish to construct socio-culturally responsive early literacy instruction in grades K-3. Chapters within this handbook are written by teachers who provide models for such instruction.

Research Foundation of CPLS
CPLS is building on previous research-based knowledge: Young children grow up in communities and homes. Within these contexts they acquire cognitive models for how and why literacy is practiced, who does and does not do it, and foundational emergent literacy concepts. Emergent literacy knowledge strongly predicts success at learning to read and write in school. Once in school, learners achieve at higher rates to the degree that the texts they read and write reflect those that they are familiar within their homes and communities. We refer to this type of instruction as authentic literacy instruction. (See Related Publications for references to this research.)

CPLS Case Study Methodology
Each CPLS researcher participates in the community as either a member of that community or by contributing time and talent to the benefit of the community. Data is collected via observations/field notes, artifacts, structured and semi-structured interviews, and photographs. Researchers document texts, writing systems, historical and political contexts, social spheres within which reading and writing occur, and characteristics about participants (e.g. gender, roles, age, and education).

The Home-School Early Literacy connection, documented by previous research.


PPTs   |   PROJECTS   |   PUBLICATIONS   |   WORKING PAPERS   |   RESEARCH TO PRACTICE   |   RESEARCHERS   |   CONTACT US