Sunday, April 27, 2008

Family Literacy and Ownership

Valerie Valentino

The area of concern for this literature review is family literacy. Studying family literacy aids one in gaining a better understanding of the effects of reading at home with one’s family. A child’s prior knowledge of the written word is often formulated at home with one’s parents before schooling. Through studying family literacy a teacher can understand how a child has developed their current knowledge. Teachers, therefore, can understand how to gear their classroom according to a child’s previous awareness. It is essential for parents to aid their child in developing their literacy through programs and helpful tips. A child’s literacy is often influenced by one’s environment or economic situation.

Parent Child Reading
Elsa Auerbahch explains how studies have demonstrated reading at an early age, with one’s parents, creates life long readers. According to Elsa Auerbahch, Paul Kropp, and Denny Taylor parent child reading is crucial to one’s development. Having parents advocate reading in the home through bedtime stories, everyday literary practices, or help with homework creates a critical thinker. Learning when not in school allows a child to connect what happens inside the classroom to what happens outside making literacy a meaningful tool. In addition, Paul Kropp emphasizes reading as a process starting with the family at infancy. Having the parent start a child’s literacy at infancy makes a substantial difference in one’s ability to connect with the world. This process of five stages, therefore, helps a child make sense of the world, aids a child with social skills, encourages family bonding, and enforces growing up since mom and dad are always doing it. Developing reading at home depends on a child’s future motivation. By cultivating family literacy a parent can create a future adult who reads.

Furthermore, Denny Taylor suggests family literacy can either strengthen or weaken a family. Taylor suggests family literacy to have a strong role in identity and status. For instance, Taylor details a situation where the parent is illiterate, however, the child grows up learning to read in school and becomes divided from one’s parent. A solution offered for this is to have one’s parent maintain a bond where reading is linked to talking. This not only produces literacy it creates a lasting bond.

The Effects of Literacy Programs in the Community

Promoting family literacy through family literacy programs can act as a core environment for success in one’s home and school life. Linda Phillips discuses how family literacy programs can break down the barriers between home and school, therefore, enabling teachers and parents to understand the way each defines, values, and uses literacy as part of cultural practices. When a family engages in a literacy program Gosse and Phillips suggest one can create a well-rounded reader for the child can come to terms with the differences between home and school literacy practices. The family by engaging in family literacy programs is evolving their literacy language practices and facing the literacy challenge together. Gross and Phillips stress the importance of the role of the family in order to sustain national literacy levels. The family is the foundation of literacy and by forming a community to support this; modern families can overcome challenges they are facing when they attempt to influence their children’s literacy and language development.

Accepting the role of family literacy in a community is an essential element for a child’s success. Denny Taylor focuses on family literacy in economic circumstances. To resolve the separation from parent and child in terms of knowledge, Taylor enforces the importance of community-based literacy programs. These programs, Taylor explains would relate to everyday lifestyle allowing everyone to communicate.

The Effects of Reading at Home
Paul Lesseman in “How Important is Home Literacy for Acquiring Literacy in School?” discusses how literacy was strongly related to a family’s socio-cultural context. Reading at home, at a young age, creates links between opportunity, instruction quality, and the social-emotional quality of informal home education. A conclusion is reached that reading at home, however, is not enough and should be enhanced with reading in school.

Reading at home with one’s family, according to Paul Kropp, aids a child with social skills, encourages family bonding, and enforces growing up. Reading at home creates a motivation for the future, which will ensure a child to grow into an adult who reads.

A Gap: Family Literacy and Ownership
Upon researching family literacy there was no information on the affects of family literacy and ownership. Does reading create a family ownership to the material one reads? If so, how does the family react to this bond? Does reading create an ownership of knowledge for the child? How does this influence a sibling relationship? How does family literacy and ownership change or motivate a child’s position in school, the friends one makes, or one’s participation? Literacy can give a person knowledge, which enables a person to put himself in a power position or a nurturing position.

For works cited, see annotated bib.

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