“Want to hear my story?” Developing Latino children’s written narratives through culturally relevant family photographs

  • Iliana Alanís University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Raquel Cataldo University of Texas at San Antonio
Keywords: emergent writing, dual language learners, narratives, culturally relevant practice


Research supports the importance of developing early literacy skills through culturally relevant activities and school/home partnerships as essential ingredients in high quality early learning environments (Bentley & Souto-Manning, 2019; Gay, 2000). Educators, however, frequently dismiss the significance of honoring a child’s first language, family, and culture when developing early literacy skills (Purcell-Gates, Melzi, Najafi, & Orellana, 2011). Integrating children’s linguistic and cultural understandings, however, is valuable and meaningful for their academic success and overall development (González, Moll, & Amanti, 2005). The purpose of this study was to explore children’s narratives as a culturally relevant practice that promotes early writing. Using student data from a prekindergarten dual language classroom, we found that using family pictures from home provided multiple iterations of children’s stories and demonstrated how Latino families’ cultural experiences are significant for the development of children’s emergent writing development. Implications for practice are discussed.