Negotiating worlds: A young Mayan child developing literacy at home and at school in Mexico

Patricia Azuara, Iliana Reyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In Mexico almost 10 million people speak an indigenous language. Recognizing the pluralistic nature of the nation, the Mexican Constitution mandates bilingual-intercultural education; in reality, however, the school system typically imposes the Spanish language and dominant culture on indigenous children. For these children their academic success comes at the expense of their own language and culture. In this article we share the case study of Yadira, a Mayan girl living in Yucatan, Mexico, whom we met when she was in first grade. Using ethnographic tools we document the different literacy events in which Yadira participates at home and at school, and how these shape her understandings about print. We discuss how Yadira negotiates between two worlds using informal sources of Maya and Spanish to construct meaning from written language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-194
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Biliteracy
  • Case studies
  • Emergent literacy
  • Hybrid practices
  • Literacy practices
  • Yucatec maya

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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