The most basic of pedagogical principles is for teachers to build on the experiences and abilities that students bring to class. An extension of this principle, especially in contemporary multicultural contexts, is that teachers must come to "know" the "cultures" from which their students emerge. The point, of course, is that students' cultural characteristics, including their language and literacy experiences, must be treated as resources, not as impediments to their schooling (e.g., Moll, 1992a; Moll & Gonzalez, 1994). Indeed, as Ferreiro (1994) has recently suggested, transforming students' diversities into pedagogical assets may be the foremost educational challenge for the future (p. 25).