According to the Policy on Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications (2011),
the acquisition of academic literacies lays the foundation for effective learning in higher education.
However, one of the major challenges for designers of academic literacies programmes is to
accommodate culturally and linguistically diverse student groups. In response to this challenge the
academic literacies curriculum for B.Ed. students overtly draws upon the multiple languages and
literacies students bring to the university, using these as a foundation for initiating them into the
literacy practices of academia. One of the methods used to operationalise this strategy was to introduce
literacy narrative pedagogy, and to gain insight into students’ acquisition of literacies by analysing
their self-narratives. This article describes students’ construction of the identities of significant others
in their narratives. New literacy studies serve as the theoretical foundation for the pedagogy, and is used
in combination with Self-determination Theory as a theoretical framework for the data analysis. The
analysis shows that relatedness is the most salient catalyst of motivation in the acquisition of literacies,
and parents as well as other primary caregivers feature as the most important sponsors of relatedness.
The article concludes with a reflection on the value of the research for curriculum review.