Reframing the Mother in Family Literacy

Year: 2000


Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Despite the centrality of mothers in their children's education, mothers have, until relatively recently, been largely invisible in the research literature theorising and describing family and intergenerational literacy practices and programs, or have been viewed as somehow deficient in their literacy practices. This paper develops a feminist analysis of family literacy programs and, drawing on critical literacy, outlines pedagogical practices that reposition mothers as researchers of language and ethnographers of literacy practices within their families. Using a selection of data from a researched case study, the paper makes visible the mother's labour in the development of child literacy and argues that a more complex set of understandings is required to inform pedagogical approaches to family literacy. I reconceptualise family literacy programs within a post structuralist feminist framework, and suggest pedagogies which acknowledge the multiple subjectivities of women as mothers, learners and teachers of their children.