Although family engagement has long been associated with positive outcomes, it is not easy to establish, particularly in urban classrooms. Teachers whose ethnic and social-economic statuses differ from that of the typical urban family may be unaware of how to build and sustain those relationships. When teachers do attempt to involve families, it is frequently in a unidirectional approach that often is not effective in urban communities nor meaningful to urban families. Using action research this study addresses the question how does the co-construction of literacy bags during kindergarten (1) facilitate family/school engagement among urban, culturally diverse parents and (2) support their children's emergent literacy? Epstein's theoretical framework of over lapping spheres and methods of family involvement guides our understanding of this phenomenon. This research began by building relationships with seven urban, kindergarten student families through a series of four family/school workshops. Workshops created an environment where families and teachers co-created literacy bags. Literacy bags were the vehicle whereby bidirectional communication supported and strengthened home-school connections. Literacy based activities within individual literacy bags were based on home practices and shared expertise (parent to parent, parent to teacher). Data gathered from workshops and meetings revealed four emerging themes: making it work, distributed expertise, connecting home and school, and more than just literacy. This study provides meaningful information into how families and teachers can work together, in a bidirectional and collaborative approach, to enrich the children's literacy development of urban, low socio-economic status kindergarten students.
|Advisor:||George, Carol St.|
|School:||University of Rochester|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Education, Teacher education|
|Keywords:||Early Childhood, Family Engagement, Literacy, Urban Communities|
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