A BILINGUAL FAMILY LITERACY PROGRAM FOR FAMILIES OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS: EXPERIENCES, PERSPECTIVES, AND LITERACY PRACTICES FROM THREE FOCAL FAMILIES
Palombo, Kimberly Marie
Silverman, Rebecca D
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A large body of research identifies the positive association between family literacy and reading outcomes for children. However, much of this research focuses on children in the emergent reading stage. Research aimed at family literacy for families with English language learners (ELLs) is further limited. Due to the dearth of family literacy program (FLP) literature for children in grades three through five, the current study investigated the experiences and attitudes of three parent–child focal pairs who participated in a bilingual family literacy program. This qualitative study of a family literacy program investigated the following two research questions: (1) What are families’ experiences and attitudes related to a family literacy program, implemented as part of an existing reading intervention, to support children’s reading development?; and (2) How does what families learn in a family literacy program align with at–home literacy interactions? Three parent–child focal pairs who were ELLs and had children in fourth grade, served as the participants to investigate these questions. Data sources for analysis included parent and student interviews, parent questionnaire, and audio/video recordings of the program. The constant comparative method (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) was used to analyze all data, both within and across the focal families. The analysis culminated in the development of an emergent theory that summarized the findings from the experiences of the focal families included in this study. Analyses of data revealed the three focal families desired to support their children’s literacy development through participation in family literacy programming, and they added to their skills with practical strategies to use with their children. Further, participation in family literacy programming deepened Spanish family literacy interactions related to texts children read in English through oral discourse. Finally, families’ implementation of strategies learned in an FLP extended their existing home literacy environment. A discussion of the findings, implications for families, home–school partnerships, and future FLPs, limitations of the current study, and future areas of research are then explored.