chapter  4
28 Pages

“Successful” and “Unsuccessful” Literacies of Two Puerto Rican Families in Chicago

This chapter is drawn from a larger ethnographic study (Del Valle, 2002) investigating

language and literacy practices in the home and school experiences of three Puerto Rican

families living in two Chicago neighborhoods: Humboldt Park and Logan Square. The

larger project was a topic-focused ethnography following Hymes’ (1974) hierarchical

model for types of ethnographic research. I observed, took field notes, and audiotaped

literacy events as a participant observer in different settings for 4 years, focusing

especially on the high school and the home. My fieldwork was triangulated with native

informants, and I relied additionally on my own experience as a Chicago Puerto Rican to

check the validity and reliability of my observations.