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Literacy and Capital

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In 2007, researcher Guofang Li took a very close look at how immigrant families attempt helped their children adjust to life in Canada. In particular she looked at the home environments of four Chinese families.

As her guiding theory, Li used James Coleman’s concepts of different forms of capital. “Coleman maintains that the family as a dynamic entity actively transforms various forms of capital from the parent generation into educational attainment in the children” ( Li 286).

Li uses Coleman’s theory as a way to understand the lives of immigrant families in Canada. The theory is also a helpful for us to use as a lens for our own experience.

Coleman’s Theory of Capital and Personal Experience


Explain Coleman’s Theory of family capital. Provide at least one quote to help you restate the three components of Coleman’s theory of family capital.

Examine your own personal experience using Coleman’s theory as a way of understanding it. Analyze literacy events, practices or environments from your life. Provide at least two specific examples from your life. Make sure to connect your examples directly to Coleman’s theory.

● You can use your upbringing, the upbringing of your children or the upbringing of others in your life. However, you mush write about your first-hand experience.

● Hint: You can use the narrative or descriptive mode of discourse to describe how you have personally experienced family capital

What does your analysis uncover? What do you learn about the home environment, family capital and/or educational attainment? What is your conclusion about what is most critical for the parent generation to do for their children? What do you conclude?

Essay GuidelinesYour essay must:

Be 4-5 complete pages in length (excluding the Works Cited page)

● Offer a clear thesis as last sentence or sentences of first paragraph

● Start subsequent paragraphs with topic sentences ● Directly quote sufficient textual evidence from Li’s article—at least once. ● Yes, you can quote from a family member, but use the MLA format for

personal interview/communication. ● Explain how these cited passages work as evidence for your claims ● Create a Works Cited page according to MLA style guidelines ● Follow MLA style guidelines for Format ● Have no errors in punctuation, spelling, capitalization and grammar

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