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Keywords:

  • family;
  • intergenerational;
  • parental
  • childhood;
  • early adolescence
  • article

This article considers the uses of literacy within the Jones family (all names are pseudonyms), an African American family who lives in the rural South of the United States. Drawing on life history data with three women in the Jones family—Harriet Jones (grandmother), Sally Harris (mother), and Lola Harris (granddaughter)—the author traces how literacy has been practiced intergenerationally within the family. As such, the Joneses' intergenerational literacy practices comprise a culture of literacy within the family. Such a culture of literacy serves as a potential pedagogical resource for supporting the education of the family's youngest member, KiKi Reynolds (great-granddaughter), who has just completed her kindergarten year. Through this exploration of literacy within the Jones family, the author argues that family must be considered a cultural context for literacy learning. In asking literacy educators and researchers to widen their lenses on the cultural contexts in which children engage in literacy practice, intergenerational literacy can offer teachers more complex, asset-oriented interpretations of their students and their families.