The relationship between the home/ community and school for language acquisition and learning is significant. Researchers have shown that a rift between the home and school holds serious implications for children’s literacy development. For literacy then, it is important that the home/ community and school coalesce at some point. Generally, what is valued by the school is expected to ‘taken up’ at home, however, the opposite should also hold true, but is often a missing link. While literacy studies have been conducted in immigrant communities worldwide, current work in South Africa is negligible. A concern is if literacy is immersed in homes and communities, how should schools respond? Unlike their parents, immigrant youth find themselves caught up between two worlds, neither fully part of the host country, nor fully part of the parents’ world (Noguero, 2006). The focus of this paper is to present a more nuanced perspective on Indian immigrant home literacy practices and their cultural models of literacy. I also examine the possibilities for literacy development. Drawing on interview and observation data from two immigrant families, this paper concludes that that home literacy intersects with schooled literacy, that the families draw on cultural models of reading, and that religious literacy is important to both families. Recommendations for teaching and learning are made.
Leila Kajee, University of Johannesburg, South Africa