The Home Literacy Practices of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families of Kindergarten Students
Fulenwider, Joan Y
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This qualitative study was initiated in order to examine the home literacy practices of culturally and linguistically diverse families of kindergarten students. In particular, the literacy practices of mothers were surveyed, as previous research has supported the assertion that mothers play a significant role in the development of literacy success in their children. The study added to what is already known about parental involvement with respect to literacy achievement. Six culturally and linguistically diverse mothers, two African American, two Hispanic, and two Vietnamese participated in the study. Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with the participants. The interviews were conducted at a school in a large urban school district in the mid-South United States. The findings of this study suggest that culturally and linguistically diverse mothers in this school environment support their children's literacy endeavors by providing the physical resources that have been reported in previous studies. These resources include use of space, time, and particularly in this study, types of books, technology and use of print-stamped objects. Aspects of social climate were also represented in the study. These social climate characteristics emerged along two dimensions, family direct support, such as the mother assuming sole responsibility for helping her child; and family indirect support, observed in expressions of affectionate relationships during literacy activities. Finally, evidence of literacy routines was also detected. One type of routine specifically addressed academic tasks assigned by the child's teacher. Other routines reflected the symbolic use of literacy previously reported in the literature.