Download the full-sized PDF of A study of the literacy practices of rural farm male adolescentsDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

A study of the literacy practices of rural farm male adolescents Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kelly, Brenda
Supervisor and department
Blair, Heather (Department of Elementary Education)
Examining committee member and department
Wiltse, Lynne (Department of Elementary Education)
Kirova, Anna (Department of Elementary Education)
Cherland, Meredith (University of Regina)
Leroy, Carol (Department of Elementary Education)
Wallace, Janice (Department of Educational Policy Studies)
McClay, Jill (Department of Elementary Education)
Department of Elementary Education

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Concerns have been expressed about assessment results that report girls outscoring boys on standardized achievement testing in reading and writing and boys outscoring girls in mathematics and science. This study explored how Western Canadian rural farm boys understand and practice multiple literacies in their everyday lives and what it means for them to be ‘literate’ in today’s world. The research was a qualitative ethnographic study of the culture of six rural farm boys. Thick description was used to explain the event and the context of the event. The fieldwork involved collecting print and digital artifacts that depicted the boys’ literacy practices and conducting interviews and conversations. The boys lead very literate lives. However, their notions of what literacy is are rooted in the ideas of literacy as a technical skill and literacy as school knowledge. The boys, who did not see themselves as readers, engaged in transactional reading and writing outside of school, motivated by personal and group interests and by a curiosity to learn knowledge about the world in which they live, a need to be with their peers, and a desire to build social capital in their settings. The boys used literacy to do the social work of gender, of defining themselves, and of placing themselves in their families and peer groups and among their schoolmates with a gendered identity. A gender-based disconnect in reading and writing activities has emerged from our schools. If we want students to embrace school-based print literacy and to make it part of their lives, then competence is simply not enough. Educators must find ways to help students discover pleasure in reading and writing well by offering them assignments and opportunities to recognize that what brings them pleasure is connected to experience, competence, and challenge. The chasm between school literacy and literacy for personal purposes demonstrates the need for curriculum designers to find ways to utilize the digital mode of communication. Curriculum writers must begin to view at literacy as a social practice rather than as a set of technical skills for these rural male adolescents to see themselves as literate people.
License granted by Brenda Kelly ( on 2010-04-09T17:25:19Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 1021175
Last modified: 2015:10:12 16:22:46-06:00
Filename: Kelly_Brenda_Spring2010.pdf
Original checksum: bbb8397bbaf884ce81a7e89b2d5f1b05
Well formed: true
Valid: true
File title: Master's Thesis/Dissertation
File author: L. Pasmore
Page count: 243
File language: en-CA
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date