Youth workers as literacy mediators: supporting young people's learning about institutional literacy practices

Uta Papen, Virginie Theriault

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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This article examines the role of youth workers as literacy mediators: people who help others with written texts. Drawing on a secondary analysis of data from a qualitative study conducted in Quebec (Canada), it discusses situations in which staff from a community-based organization helped young people with written texts such as bureaucratic letters or forms. Such institutional literacy practices were found to be stressful and difficult, but were crucial for the young people’s ability to access resources and opportunities. Literacy mediation, contrary to what other studies have shown, offers important opportunities for literacy learning. The youth workers were able to counter the negative emotions dominant literacy practices often provoked and in so doing helped young people develop greater confidence and ability to deal with such literacy practices in a more informed and empowered way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy
Issue number2
Early online date6 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2016


  • youth workers
  • literacy mediators
  • literacy skills
  • young adults
  • le bercail
  • social integration
  • Quebec

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