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Research Project

Linguistic Identity and Community Literacy Landscape

Literacy Landscape Project by Jill Hallett
Principal Investigator
Hallett, Jill
Research Area(s)
Language in Education


This project focuses on how the literacy landscape reflects the home languages of students and families in one linguistically-diverse community in Chicago. It looks at how linguistic identity is indexed through the community literacy landscape and what language practices are present, privileged, and erased. I begin with a comparative analysis of the home languages of one community and three primary schools that serve students within it. I then examine the literacy landscape qualitatively through visual and digital ethnography as well as interviews to understand the extent to which community literacy needs are met. The data are all collected and I’m analyzing the results now, starting with the library. My plan is to help address problem areas with whatever resources I can bring. For example, one of the things I learned is that the languages of available library materials don’t match the languages of the community; furthermore, languages of recent refugees are not reflected in the library’s offerings at all. To remedy this problem, the head librarian and I are working together to get a collection going, beginning with my donating some books in Dari and Pashto and working to compile statistics to spur purchasing to provide additional library materials and programming. I look forward to finishing the library analysis and moving on to the literacy landscape of the schools and larger community so I can make asset-based recommendations toward more linguistic inclusivity in my neighborhood and beyond.