The Parent/Educator Experience: Examining How to Affect One Student's Reading Needs outside of Traditional Education



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Background: The ability to read and to understand the content of various types of text-sources has been shown to be one of the most significant factors that influence student achievement in school settings. Despite this academic fact, it was clear that some students are more effective at acquiring literacy skills than others. A positive variable that could impact the development of literacy achievement was the inclusion of parental involvement. Parental involvement could benefit students if parents possessed the capacity and the desire to assist with home instruction that could result in academic growth. Purpose: This study was conducted as an autoethnography and documented the approach used by a parent-educator to identify and to implement one-on-one delivered home-based intervention strategies used to assist a struggling fifth-grade student. The following question guided this study: What patterns and understandings emerged from the methodical examination of the reflections of a parent-educator during an autoethnographic study to investigate research-based literacy strategies used in the home to assist a struggling fifth-grade student? Methods: Using the framework of an autoethnographic study (Kosnik, Beck, Freese, & Samaras, 2006; Paugh and Robinson, 2009), a reflective description of the journey of a parent-educator who documented the instructional process implemented in the home to assist a struggling fifth-grade student is provided. A triangulation approach was used to collect data regarding the use of intervention strategies implemented by a parent-educator to support the academic growth of a struggling fifth-grade student. Data sources included parent observations, parent journal entries, and field notes taken in the home during points of instruction and academic engagement. Based on the initial feedback from parent-teacher meetings that the fifth-grade student was experiencing academic difficulty related to literacy skills, the parent-educator identified and implemented research-based intervention strategies to provide explicit home-based instruction and documented her personal journey as educator and parent. Results: Evaluation of the parent-educator’s implementation of home-based instruction involved analyzing parent journal entries, parent observations, and field notes describing the implementation of instruction. Using the constant comparative method, three emergent themes were identified: (1) Parent as Educator, (2) Instructional Barriers and Catalysts, and (3) Support for Parent and Child. Conclusion: The results suggest that the parent-educator realized the capacity to become more empowered as a home-based educator who also learned to be less critical of herself as a parent and to become more supportive of her child. The results also suggest that parental involvement through home-based instruction using research-based intervention strategies may assist in increasing the academic performance of an academically-challenged student. More studies are needed to investigate the effectiveness of parental involvement and the home-based implementation of literacy strategies to assist with the academic achievement of struggling students.



Parents, Educators