Generaciones’ Narratives provides readers with a richer understanding of the complex and discursive nature of literacy practices on the border. These literacy practices are inherently more complicated because they are distinctly historical, social, geographical, and personal. Scenters-Zapico works to reveal literacy practices as they occurred and evolved in these contexts, using an expansive methodology that uses narrative, ethnographic, quantitative and qualitative approaches. The depth inherent in the revelation of such practices is further exemplified in the video interviews embedded in the text. As participants tell their own stories, in their own words, much is gained in terms of understanding these very personal literacy practices.
Additionally, the text itself challenges the traditional literacy format in that it was created and designed to be read as an e-text, allowing for possibilities and constraints. The possibilities are quite extensive. Video interviews embedded throughout the text provide the reader with a rich understanding of participants’ stories as they reflect on their personal literacy practices and the evolutionary nature of these practices. In addition, there are instances where participants told their stories in Spanish, and Scenters-Zapico has embedded translations into the text allowing for the authenticity of those voices to be preserved. In terms of constraints, it should be noted that it takes quite some time to read this text as the data is exhaustive and the videos accompany almost all of the textual narratives collected.
My only critique of this text comes from the confusion caused inadvertently through the technology because navigation of the text itself is time-consuming and at times unclear. For example, some of the videos were not in order and playing them out of context was often frustrating. As a reader, having to toggle back and forth between videos and pages in order to figure out where the text and video aligned was distracting. Similarly, it took me some time to figure out how to access the translations (by hovering over the key icons) embedded in the text, as I am not a fluent Spanish speaker the meanings of the words became lost as the text changed from Spanish and English and vice versa. While I very much appreciate the attempt to maintain the authenticity of the voices, the text might have been more accessible to all readers if the translations were more prominent.
Nevertheless, the implications of this study are far-reaching on both theoretical and pedagogical fronts. The identification and definition of concepts such as direct and indirect sponsorship, micro-tear zones, and gateways help educators everywhere understand how students are learning, which in turn can serve as a catalyst to improve pedagogy. Also important to note, is that such terminology can serve as reference for further research into other cultural studies of literacy practices, because it offers new ways to discuss these practices. In addition, revelations inherent in the personal narratives and authenticity of voices offer a distinct look at how narrative theories can be best utilized to reveal how literacy practices evolve over time.