Gateway Moments to Literate Identities

Kerry A. Enright, Joanna W. Wong, Sergio L. Sanchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing from theories of identity, language, and race, we conceptualize gateway moments to literate identities in high school English language arts classrooms enrolling language-minoritized youth. Gateways were interactions that afforded particular kinds of literate identities for youth. Deficit literate identities often invoked racialized language and literacy ideologies; authoritative literate identities engaged youths’ full cultural and linguistic repertoires to create and critique knowledge. Occasionally, youth enacted authoritative classroom literate identities alongside or in response to dominant deficit frames of their literate abilities during planned and spontaneous classroom interaction. We note in each type of gateway opportunities for teachers to open space for youths’ authoritative knowledge-producing literate identities. We aim to illustrate how a single instructional choice or classroom interaction ranges in effect from maintaining and reinforcing oppressive legacies and deficit literate identities to centering youth and their language and literacy repertoires in learning experiences for more socially just interactions and learning.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Literacy Research
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • English education
  • adolescent literacy
  • culturally and linguistically diverse students
  • discourse/discourse analysis
  • identity


  • Education
  • Language and Literacy Education
  • Secondary Education

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