This paper arises from a three-year longitudinal study of middle primary school literacies funded by an ARC SPIRT grant between 1998 and 2000. The project focused on the literate practices made available to, and taken up by, students in the years immediately after the early years. A major outcome of the study was the production of 18 case studies of children attending three South Australian schools serving communities living with high levels of poverty. This paper draws on one case study to discuss how different theoretical frames about literacy and literacy assessment make visible different kinds of literate practices and student achievements. In particular, I suggest that bringing aspects of a multiliteracies theoretical frame to data produced in the study constitutes the case study student as a differently literate subject and more successful student than he is constructed in his school report cards.