In this article, Arlette Willis articulates the literacy schooling experiences of her son, Jake, as he engages in a struggle to affirm himself as both a literacy learner and an African American. Asserting that Jake's struggle has historical roots and present-day consequences for the education of culturally and linguistically diverse school children, Willis argues for a reconceptualization of literacy that builds on these children's backgrounds and knowledges. In the last section of the article, Willis provides the reader with some of the strategies and practices she has employed as a teacher-educator to assist her own students in expanding their understandings of the various cultures in U.S. society that children represent.

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