Mexican American High-School Students in the Midwestern United States
This ethnographic study explores the literacy practices of 10 high-school students of Mexican background from the rural Midwestern United States. Findings reveal how Mexican background students demonstrated different literacy practices in their homes and community than those acknowledged at school. In school, Mexican background students were viewed in terms of their limited English status and were mostly enrolled in low academic tracks. Mexican American students who were fluent bilinguals were not recognized for their linguistic proficiency. The speaking of Spanish in informal settings was not condoned by the school culture, and no bilingual reference materials were available for students to use independently. In the community, the local newspaper rarely featured stories about the Mexican families. At home, most students had monolingual Spanish-speaking parents and home literacy practices encompassed translation activities, functional literacy, and reading for entertainment. This study should inform school personnel and researchers interested in the academic achievement of Mexican background students.