We study the social, cultural, and political contexts of literacy. While schools are the central institutions charged with providing instruction in literacy, we also consider the practices, models and ideologies of literacy at the heart of other social contexts. Home, for instance, is the site of initiation into literacy practices that variably align with school. New digital literacies have provided new ways for children and adolescents to assert literate identities, loosening the control of schools and parents. Finally, we study the literacy and language ideologies embedded within and policed by political, religious and market formations, the latter evidenced in best-sellers every few years that attempt to reassert traditional norms of correctness. We approach each as sites and means of the production and distribution of literate identities as well as sites reproducing social stratification. Students in this class observe formal literacy instruction in several different schools in the area.