Saturday, April 12, 2008

Family Literacy

Valerie Valentino

For this research project family literacy is the field of study. The purpose of studying family literacy is to gain a better understanding of the effects of reading at home with one’s family. Teachers can benefit from this information for the research shows how a child develops literacy. Teachers, therefore, can understand how to gear their classroom according to a child’s previous knowledge. In addition, the sources I read show the importance of developing a child’s literacy before school, with one’s parent. In addition, parents may also benefit from this information, for the sources offer suggestions to better develop a child’s literacy. The sources suggest literacy programs and helpful tips. Furthermore, some of the sources I researched also discuss family literacy being influenced by one’s environment or economic situation. I excluded all sources which did not directly deal with family literacy and only concerned issues of creative reading. I found many chapters in books pertaining to my topic.

Auerbach, Elsa. "Family Literacy Connections in Schools and Communities." Which Way for
Family Literacy: Intervention or Empowerment? Ed. Lesley Morrow. New Brunswick: International Reading Association, 1995. 11-35. In the chapter “Which Way for Family Literacy: Intervention or Empowerment?,” Elsa Auerbach, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, relays the importance of school success beginning in the home, parents supporting children’s literacy development by helping them with homework, parents reading to their children and family literacy programs. Auerbach discusses the detrimental effects when life demands take parents away from their child’s literacy development. Furthermore, social context is seen as a recourse that can inform one about a child’s learning. Auerbach goes on to discuss the teacher’s role to connect what happens inside the classroom to what happens outside making literacy a meaningful tool when addressing critical issues in families and communities. In conclusion, this chapter focuses on how the family literacy movement can become a vehicle for promoting change. Parents can read this article, as well as, teachers (who can recommend family literacy programs to parents) and take action when promoting literacy.

Brandt, Deborah, comp. "Literacy in American Lives." Accumulating Literacy: How Four
Generations of One American Family Learned to Write. Madison: Cambridge UP, 2001. 73-104. In this chapter Deborah Brandt, a Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, focuses on the stratification created by literacy throughout four generations of the May family. In the chapter “Accumulating Literacy”, the impact of literacy in the May’s material and social environment is studied. Furthermore, Brandt says both of these environments were constructed regionally. For instance, in the 1890s people who migrated toward the city were literate. Brandt discusses literacy growing more democratic between adults and children in the May family. The history of economic competition and change of the earlier May generations become infrastructures for literacy encounters by the later generations. Brandt states literacy becomes the primary source for opportunity and constraint. Furthermore, literacy shapes economic struggles, victories, and looses of the May’s past. As the May family progresses they inherit higher and higher literacy recourses when gaining new technological experiences. Brandt discusses that although the foundation for the May’s success was literature, the value of literacy becomes less important because of technology. In conclusion, Brandt discusses the dilemma the family now faces for they are surrounded by technology, but have an abundance of literature available. Families can become aware of the current changes in modern society and fight to become more knowledgeable through literature.

Gosse, Heather, and Linda Phillips. "Understanding Literacy Development: a Global View." Family Literacy in Canada. Ed. Anne McKeough. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006. 113-135. In “Understanding Literacy Development,” Heather Gosse and Linda Phillips, at the University of Alberta, focus on the importance of the family literacy program. According to Gosse and Phillips, literacy is one of the most important goals in child development. Gosse and Phillips go on to explain the success of a child’s literacy is rooted in the family. Having a family literacy program, furthermore, acts as a core environment for the promotion of literacy. A family literacy program breaks down the barriers between home and school. This will, therefore, enable teachers and parents to understand the way each defines, values, and uses literacy as part of cultural practices. Through a family literacy program Gosse and Phillips suggest one can come to terms with the differences between home and school literacy practices. In conclusion, this will create a well-rounded reader. Gosse and Phillips enforce the family as the foundation of literacy. Furthermore, we must understand the nature and challenges faced by modern families, their evolving literacy, language practices, and their influence on children’s literacy and language development. Accepting the role of the family, according to Gosse and Phillips, is necessary for sustaining national literacy levels.

Kropp, Paul. "Raising a Reader." Learning to Read-Throughout Life. New York: Doubleday,
1996. 17-33. In the book Raising a Reader, the chapter “Learning to Read- Throughout Life,” by Paul Kropp, author and teacher, focuses on learning to read with one’s parent as a process. According to Kropp, reading is a process which is fun, 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. These five aspects affect a child’s learning throughout life. Furthermore, Kropp states the only mistake a parent can make when enforcing a child to read is to expect too much from your child and to turn reading into work. Kropp discuss the five stages of reading which, according to him, begin in infancy (or stage one). Stage two is reading without a parent, stage three is learning, to read at school, stage four is gaining competency, and stage five is a reader using critical judgment. Lastly, Kropp focuses on the importance of family. According to Kropp, the development of readers depends on what happens at home. Reading at home creates a motivation for the future which will ensure a child to grow into an adult who reads. Parents and teachers by reading this article can become more aware of ways to enforce reading.

Leseman, Paul, and Peter Jong. "Literacy and Motivation: Reading Engagement in Individuals
and Groups." How Important is Home Literacy for Acquiring Literacy in School? Ed. Ludo Verhoeven and Catherine Snow. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001. 71-93. In this chapter, Paul Leseman and Peter Jong, from the University of Amsterdam, discuss the importance of home literacy for school achievement in vocabulary development, and literacy acquisition. Furthermore, through a study, they discovered literacy was strongly related to the family’s sociocultural context. In addition, first off, there were strong links between opportunity, instruction quality, and the social-emotional quality of informal home education, while on the other hand, the parents’ educational history, and job content, literacy practice, and child-rearing beliefs bring to mind the question of whether promoting literacy with children is enough to make a lasting effect. Leseman and Jong came to the conclusion that a narrow focus on home literacy is not the best strategy for obtaining the effects of early education programs. To promote socialization, a child should be well-rounded and have a literacy background from school and home. In conclusion, a low income community (as well as any community) should include parents and children in book reading, therefore, resolving the issue of effects of home socialization practices on literacy acquisition and school success.

Taylor, Denny. "Family Literacy." Family Literacy in a Cultural Context. Portsmouth:
Heinemann, 1998. 79-88. Denny Taylor, an award winning author, in the chapter “Family Literacy in a Cultural Context,” discusses the significance of literacy in a parent-child relationship. Taylor studies families where literacy either makes a family socially strong or weakens their structure. Furthermore, this chapter focuses on literacy creating a strong status and identity. In the situation Taylor describes where the parent is illiterate; the child grows up learning to read in school and becomes divided from one’s parent. Having one’s parent link reading with talking can create a strong reader. To resolve the separation of child and parent, Taylor enforces the importance of literacy in the lives of parents. In conclusion, this chapter suggests the need for a network of community-based literacy programs. These programs, furthermore, would be designed to relate to one’s everyday lifestyle.


No comments: