Faculty Publications

Title

Citizenship in the literate community: An ethnography of children with down syndrome and the written word

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Exceptional Children

Volume

64

Issue

2

First Page

167

Last Page

180

Abstract

In school, children with Down syndrome have historically been separated from literacy opportunities and expectations. In this ethnography, the school literacy experiences of 10 students with Down syndrome were examined over a 2-year period. Two broad definitions of literacy were uncovered. The first regarded reading as conformity to a hierarchy of psychologically-deduced sub-skills. Children with Down syndrome had difficulty conforming and were separated from Citizenship in the classrooms' literate communities. The second definition regarded literacy as the construction of shared meaning in specific contexts. In these classrooms, students with Down syndrome were valued as symbolic beings and engaged literacy as a communication tool. The implications for reconceptualizing Down syndrome are discussed. © 1998 The Council for Exceptional Children.

Original Publication Date

1-1-1998

DOI of published version

10.1177/001440299806400202

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