I conducted a narrative inquiry with five ninth grade boys in my English class that I identified as displaying multiple literacies. The classes I taught the boys in were two sections of honors ninth grade English. The boys came from a variety of backgrounds and lived in various neighborhoods in the approximately 20,0000-member community where we all live. The site of this research was the junior high school in Utah where the boys attend school and I had been employed for six years. After the research was collected, I conducted several negotiation sessions with the boys and their parents at the school, as well as in their homes. These negotiations facilitated a methodological concept I came to call distillation, which is an interim step for determining which narratives in an inquiry are emblematic. My research centered on how these boys storied their literate identities. A review of literature revealed several lenses for conceptualizing the stories of these boys. An analysis of the stories I collected revealed that the boys' stories moved beyond current conceptions of either identity or literacy alone and instead offered a way of looking at literate identity as simultaneously being and doing literacy. In light of this definition, the boys' stories revealed plotlines that together described literate identity as a form of capital. The question of how the boys story themselves is ultimately answered using a meta-narrative about a boon, of gift, that emerges from mythic/archetypal literary criticism. Distribution of a desirable boon that will help society is the goal of a hero story. The boys narrate the ways in which they distribute literacy as a boon. The implications for this research include a need to examine classroom space in order to facilitate the deployment of literate identity capital, as well as space for living out the meta-narratives that these boys are composing.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Teacher Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





Adolescent boys, literate identity, boys' literacy, forms of capital