Becoming Readers and Writers: Literate Identities Across Childhood and Adolescence

Edited by Christopher J. Wagner, Katherine K. Frankel, and Christine M. Leighton

Centered around the idea that literacy teaching is more than the transmission of strategies and skills, this volume serves as a foundation for approaching literacy from an identity perspective. Through incisive and accessible chapters from top scholars, it introduces readers to the concept of literate identities, examining them across ages and grade levels to present an overview of how scholars and educators can use this concept in their research and teaching.

Organized by developmental level with sections on early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, and cross-age research, contributors reveal how literacy can be framed as an identity practice to engage students and support their development. Applying a range of theoretical perspectives and frameworks, each chapter identifies the identity theory used, explains the relevant methodology and research questions, covers implications for practice, and includes questions or prompts for discussion. The volume reveals how understanding literate identities is at the heart of effective and inclusive literacy instruction by addressing key topics, including culturally relevant pedagogy, intersectionality, and transnationalism, among others. Illuminating multiple pathways to understanding students as readers and writers, this book is essential for teachers, scholars, and researchers in literacy education, research methods, and multicultural education.

ISBN 9781032202044

Published 2024 by Routledge

Order from the publisher here or from your favorite bookseller.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Editor Biographies

Contributor Biographies

Introduction: Approaching Literacy from an Identity Perspective

Christine M. Leighton, Christopher J. Wagner, and Katherine K. Frankel

Section I: Literate Identities in Early Childhood

Introduction to Literate Identities in Early Childhood

Christopher J. Wagner

Chapter 1: Exploring, Analyzing, Interpreting, and (Re)Presenting Positive Visions of Young Children’s Literate Identities, 

Lindsey Moses

Chapter 2: Assessment as a Tool to Enhance Students’ Identities as Readers and Writers

Bente Rigmor Walgermo and Per Henning Uppstad

Chapter 3: Language and Multilingualism in Young Children’s Literate Identities

Christopher J. Wagner

Section II: Literate Identities in Middle Childhood

Introduction to Literate Identities in Middle Childhood

Christine M. Leighton

Chapter 4: A Sociocultural Approach to School Literacy: Navigating Identity Through Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

Chantal Francois

Chapter 5: Designing Literacy Instruction to Support Reading Identity Negotiations: The Case of One Fifth-Grade Classroom

Kierstin Giunco, Christine M. Leighton, and Lisa M. O’Brien

Chapter 6: "They Will Shut You Out If They Think You Can’t Read": Navigating Diverse Models of Identity in an Eighth-Grade Classroom

Leigh A. Hall

Section III: Literate Identities in Adolescence

Introduction to Literate Identities in Adolescence

Katherine K. Frankel

Chapter 7: How Youth Construct Literacy-Related Identities: The Role of Tracking and High-Stakes Testing

Julie E. Learned, Laura C. Dacus, and Kewsi Burgess

Chapter 8: Transnationalism, Writing, and Identity Within a Caribbean Classroom Context

Allison Skerrett

Chapter 9: "Learning to Code…with a Goal that I Get to Determine": A Latina Girl’s Literate Intersectional Identities at a STEAM Workshop

Tisha Lewis Ellison, Bradley Robinson, and Tairan Qiu

Section IV: Literate Identities Across Childhood and Adolescence

Introduction to Literate Identities Across Childhood and Adolescence

Christopher J. Wagner, Katherine K. Frankel, and Christine M. Leighton

Chapter 10: Longitudinal Identity Construction: Intersectionality, Figured Worlds, and Assemblage

Catherine Compton-Lilly

Chapter 11: Becoming (Un)Labeled: Challenging Socially Constructed Notions of Normalcy in Literate Identities

Bobbie Kabuto

Chapter 12: Literate Identities and/in the Body: Tracing Embodiments of Literacy Across Grade Levels

Grace Enriquez, Stavroula Kontovourki, and Elisabeth Johnson

Conclusion: Advancing Identity in the Literacy Field

Katherine K. Frankel, Christine M. Leighton, and Christopher J. Wagner


Christopher J. Wagner is an Associate Professor of Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Queens College, City University of New York, USA.

Katherine K. Frankel is an Associate Professor of Literacy Education at Boston University, Boston, USA.

Christine M. Leighton is an Associate Professor of Education at Emmanuel College, Boston, USA.